Classical and Opera Reviews

Sukanya @ Royal Festival Hall, London

by Steven Johnson

Shankar 100 is a year long series taking place at the Southbank Centre commemorating the centenary of the birth of Ravi Shankar. He may be…



Prisoner of the State @ Barbican Hall, London


David Lang’s Prisoner of the State is a modern day take on Fidelio, and it achieves the right balance between creating a work that speaks...

Keenlyside / Martineau @ Wigmore Hall, London


In this programme of song from French, British and German composers, one might have picked holes in minor elements, but overall the combination of baritone...

A Winter Birthday @ Wigmore Hall, London


Musical Christmas miscellanies can be a bit hit or miss, but Graham Johnson’s Songmakers’ Almanac’s A Winter Birthday on Saturday was everything you’d want it...

A Georgian Christmas: Eboracum Baroque @ York Mansion House, York


It’s not easy to be original in baroque music in the 21st century: the composers would appear to have been discovered, the performers seem to...

LSO / Pappano @ Barbican Hall, London


What better way to take your mind off the political skulduggery of the day than a concert devoted to three of this country’s finest composers...

The Tallis Scholars @ St John’s Smith Square, London


The Tallis Scholars’ Reflections formed their contribution to the St John’s Christmas Festival this year, and the group, under its founder-director, Peter Phillips, chose to...

Fretwork’s An Elizabethan Christmas @ Wigmore Hall, London


It may be difficult for us to imagine a Christmas when ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ did not take...

Jakub Józef Orliński @ Wigmore Hall, London


When the English diarist John Evelyn visited the Teatro Novissimo in Venice in 1645 he recorded his impressions of the opera he saw there, Ercole...

L’Arpeggiata @ Wigmore Hall, London


Far la Ninna Nanna, the title of L’Arpeggiata’s Christmas themed concert is an Italian phrase meaning ‘to sing a lullaby’, and lullabies there were aplenty,...

Messiah @ Barbican Hall, London


Trevor Pinnock’s 1988 recording of Messiah is rightly the stuff of legend. Its crisp attacks and lithe textures have now passed into common currency for...

Otello @ Royal Opera House, London


Who is Othello? Is he a towering commander whose strength is suddenly taken from him by the machinations of a lesser man with a quicker...

The Cardinall’s Musick / Carwood @ St John’s Smith Square, London


For their contribution to the St John’s Christmas Festival, the a-cappella ensemble The Cardinall’s Musick presented ‘Vigilia di Natale’, a programme featuring sacred music of...

La belle Hélène @ Bloomsbury Theatre, London


Like Orphée aux enfers, written six years earlier, Offenbach’s La belle Hélène of 1764 is a parody of an ancient myth. Both employ Ludovic Halévy...

Peter Grimes @ Royal Festival Hall, London


One of the undoubtedly great productions during Edward Gardner’s tenure as Music Director of English National Opera was David Alden’s Peter Grimes. Gardner conducted the...

Seraphin Project / Lisney @ St John’s Smith Square, London


The Seraphin Project was set up under the aegis of King’s College Cambridge to foster musical collaboration across the generations, and to mix student musicians...

Il mondo della luna @ Britten Theatre, London


Haydn’s Il mondo della luna of 1777 utilises a libretto by Carlo Goldoni first written in 1750 and forming the basis for at least six...

Saint Cecilia @ Kings Place, London


The feast of St Cecilia, patron of musicians is in November, and The Sixteen opted to celebrate it with a programme of 20th and 21st-century...

Dame Sarah Connolly / Julius Drake @ Middle Temple Hall, London


This Temple Music recital which took place in the august, yet intimate, surroundings of Middle Temple Hall was a cause for rejoicing on so many...

Yuja Wang / Andreas Ottensamer @ Milton Court, London


Two world-class instrumentalists playing together can be risky; while no-one doubts their individual abilities, sometimes the chemistry doesn’t work, and chamber music cannot ever be...

LA Phil/Dudamel @ Barbican Hall, London


The LA Phil were in town for a short residency at the Barbican as part of a celebratory centenary tour with their music director, Gustavo...