Musical Opinion

Musical Opinion is a bimonthly magazine that covers classical music, opera and ballet. Founded on Oct. 8, 1877, Musical Opinion Ltd. publishes this periodical. Article subjects include music, musical instruments, drama and theatre. Denby Richards is the Editor, Christopher Monk is the Art Director and Production Editor, and Judith Monk is the Department Editor.

Articles from Vol. 127, No. 1441, July/August

Adonis Alvanis
Denby Richards meets the young virtuosoAward-winning violinist and composer 38 year old Adonis Alvanis is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after musicians of his generation. Introducing new and rarely played music side by side with innovative...
Alun Hoddinott at 75
Rian Evans lifts a glassDoyen of Welsh composers, elder statesman: some of the clichés do certainly apply but Grand Old Man, no! It's true that these days Alun Hoddinott ambles rather than sprints up to the stage to acknowledge the warm applause that...
AMICI FOREVER: The Opera Band
AMICI FOREVER: the Opera BandVictor Arista Associated Labels82876-52739-2Sweet, lyrical, melodious voices in tune and tuned to each other: Amid Forever is the latest group of classically trained crossover artists wanting to make classical music and opera...
Arabella at the Royal Opera House
Arabella at the Royal Opera HouseThe new staging of Richard Strauss' Arabella, a joint production with the Theatre Châtelet of Paris, where it was first presented in 2002, was seen at the Royal Opera House on 21 May and proved to be a triumph in spite...
Auctions at Bonhams
Bonhams at 101 New Bond Street, London holds six auctions of string instruments each year as well as regular auctions of antique and modern pianos. Bonhams opened for business in 1793 before Beethoven wrote his First Symphony!Each auction is preceded...
Ayako Uehara at the Wigmore
Ayako Uehara at the WigmoreIn the almost 50 years since it was inaugurated, the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow has produced a clutch of outstanding winners, including Van CIiburn, John Ogdon, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mischa Dichter, John Lill, Peter...
BBC Philharmonic's Queen of Spades
BBC Philharmonic's Queen of SpadesGianandrea Noseda has turned quite a few heads since his appointment as Principal Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic and, with a quick glance at the programme for 29 May, it is not difficult to see why. For their choice...
BBC Philharmonic's Queen of Spades
Gianandrea Noseda has turned quite a few heads since his appointment as Principal Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic and, with a quick glance at the programme for 29 May, it is not difficult to see why. For their choice to end another fine season at the...
Benjamin Britten Violin Competition
The Benjamin Britten International Violin Competition was launched 3 years ago. It is an illustrious new competition which runs for the first time in July and August of this year. The Competition is the result of the dedicated efforts of its 3 founders;...
Black Box
Robert Matthew-Walker profiles this fascinating and successful young record labelIndependent record labels come and go - as assiduous collectors have learned, sometimes to their cost, over the years - for what may have begun in an aura of idealism all...
Carlos Barboso-Lima at the Queen Elizabeth Hall
Carlos Barboso-Lima at the Queen Elizabeth HallA compelling ambassador for Brazilian music, the guitarist and composer Carlos Barboso-Lima, a student of Segovia, held a packed QEH in thrall together with the English Chamber Orchestra under the stylish...
Christina Mairi Lawrie in Banff
Christina Mairi Lawrie in BanffAfter reading Peter Katin's article on his experiences with pianos world-wide in the last issue of Musical Opinion, it must have come as no comfort to Dundee-born Christina Mairi Lawrie when she arrived at Duff House in...
Classical Brit Awards
Judith Monk was thereThe 5th Annual Classical Brit Awards, held at the Royal Albert Hall on 26 May 2004, was an evening of celebration for classical music by, and for, a strange mixture of serious classical musicians and the newly coined crossover artists....
ENO's Valkyrie at the Coliseum
ENO's Valkyrie at the ColiseumA blood-curdling scream rips through the auditorium, Sieglinde awakes from her habitual nightmare - writhing on the table in the centre of the dingy hut she is forced to share with Hunding. Only then does the storm music...
Esa-Pekka Salonen's Mahler 2
Esa-Pekka Salonen's Mahler 2It is extraordinary how Mahler's music still manages to draw the crowds. Not that it should keep them away, but those who remember the time when a symphony by Mahler would guarantee a hefty financial loss for the concert promoters,...
Florian Leonhard
talked with Judith MonkFlorian Leonhard is a violin creator, dealer and restorer with an impeccable grounding in these arts, who began his training at the tender age of 19, when he acquired the basic techniques and skills of the craft at a Violin making...
Glyndebourne Revive Pelléas
Glyndebourne revive PelléasWhen Graham Vick's production of W Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande was first staged at Glyndebourne in 1999 I admit to have been somewhat perplexed by being presented with a single set of a grand drawing room, complete with...
Glyndebourne's Opening Night Die Zauberflöte
Glyndebourne's Opening Night Die ZauberflöteGlyndebourne was positively buzzing with excitement as old friends and new gathered in the sunshine for the 70th Anniversary Opening Night performance of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte on 20 May.Champagne was flowing...
GRIEG: In Autumn; Piano Concerto; Symphonic Dances
GRIEG: In Autumn; Piano Concerto; Symphonic DancesHåvara Gimse: PianoRoyal Scottish National OrchestraBjarte Engeset: ConductorNaxos 8.557279 71' 47"Every now and again a CD arrives with a programme of music which I seem to have known all my life and...
Hagai Shaham
Judith Monk investigatesAnother young violinist has recently been brought to my attention. While researching features I stumbled upon a discussion board on www.Violinist.com where members were discussing whether Hagai was related to Gil Shaham: intrigued,...
Helikon Opera at the Peacock
Helikon Opera at the PeacockThe Helikon Opera Company of Moscow arrived in London in May to present a short and varied season at the Peacock Theatre. I caught two of their productions, John Frederick Lampes Pyramus and Thisbe and Tchaikovsky's The Queen...
Hertfordshire Chorus at the Barbican
Hertfordshire Chorus at the BarbicanThe enterprising Hertfordshire Chorus, under their dynamic conductor David Temple, presented a programme very much of two halves at the Barbican on 25 April. They began with what appeared to be a committed and convincing...
Highnotes
The newly restored La Scala Opera House opens on 7 December. Maestro and Musical Director Riccardo Muti will direct Antonio Salieri 's Europa Riconosciuta, replicating the original 1778 inauguration. The restoration, which was directly supervised by...
Inessa Galante at St John's
Inessa Galante at St John'sThe Latvian soprano Inessa Galante covered a lot of ground in her recital at St John's, Smith Square, on 27 May. In a programme that travelled from Handel to Villa-Lobos she interspersed popular operatic arias with Russian...
Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend
Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend By Stephen Davis Ebury Press ISBN 009190-041-7 Hardback 482pp £18.99Jim Morrison died in 1971 at the age of only 28, but his records still sell and are still used for backgrounds to commercials; his gravestone in Père...
JoAnn Deveaux-Callender and Lee Callender at St. George's
Hot sunny days are not normally conducive to large audiences, and so it was that a small but enthusiastic group gathered in St. George's Church, Hanover Square, on a sweltering 8 June to celebrate 275 years of Bahamian Democracy. The concert, in aid...
John Woolrich's 50th Birthday Concert at the Purcell Room
John Woolrich's 50th Birthday Concert at the Purcell RoomJohn Woolrich's fiftieth birthday concert, given at the Purcell Room on 9 February, was an evening of pure pleasure. Woolrich chose an eclectic yet clever programme of fragments from some of the...
Kathleen Ferrier Awards 2004
Kathleen Ferrier Awards 2004An the half century that has passed since the untimely death of Kathleen Ferrier, the competition that commemorates her distinguished career has been won by some of rhe most promising singers to emerge in this country. Few...
Maria De Buenos Aires in Norwich
Maria de Buenos Aires in NorwichThe Norwich Festival, under the artistic direction of Peter Bolton, has become one of the most exciting and eagerly anticipated in Britain, and this year mounted the first fully-staged production of a Tango operita by...
Marina Laslo at St John's
Marina Laslo at St John'sThe programme presented by Marina Laslo at St John's, Smith Square on 24 May was the worst I have ever attended at this venue. Entitled Classic Spin, this profoundly unmusical attempt at giving famous classical tunes a soft-pop...
Music in Education
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of MusicThe Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music is delighted to announce the single greatest innovation in music assessment since the introduction of graded music exams 115 years ago: Music Medals....
New Music at the 2004 Proms
Although the quality of the new works is always unpredictable, every season of Promenade Concerts is enlivened by the new commissions and various other premieres. Last year's batch of new scores achieved an unusually high standard, which it will not...
New Zealand Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells
New Zealand Royal Ballet at Sadler's WellsThe week-long visit by the New Zealand Royal Ballet to the Sadler's Wells Theatre gave two programmes, both of which were great fun if not the greatest ballet. The triple bill on 27 April was very entertaining...
Nicola Benedetti
Denby Richards talked with the new BBC Young Musician of the YearWatching the semi-finals and then the Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician of the Year I felt certain that Nicola Benedetti would be the winner. While all the players were well prepared...
Ninth Munich Biennale
Ninth Munich BiennaleThe nine cycles of the Münchener Biennale have produced 52 operatic premieres. Notwithstanding previous successes, the ninth Festival, which ran from 12 to 28 May, probably achieved a higher overall standard than hitherto. All five...
Opera North's Francesca Da Rimini & Pagliacci
Opera North's Francesca da Rimini & PagliacciThe third installment of Opera North's one-acter season, first seen on 7 May, offered a rare Rachmaninov and that old war-horse Pagliacci in stagings which found David Pountney at the top of his form and...
Polish National Opera Season at Sadler's Wells
Polish National Opera Season at Sadler's WellsTo mark the joining of Poland to the enlarged European Union on 1 May that country's National Opera presented a short season of three Polish operas at Sadler's Wells Theatre between 20 and 25 April. Under...
Prom Previews 2004
Denby Richards anticipates"Taking over the direction of the Proms is surely the most enjoyably daunting challenge the musical world has to offer". So wrote Nicholas Kenyon in 1996, adding that he hoped the programmes would encourage the audience "to...
RNCM International Violin Competition
A new and exciting International Violin Competition will be held at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester from 12 to 24 April 2005. The competition is open to violinists of any nationality, aged between 18-30. The main aim of the competition...
Rodelinda at Glyndebourne
Rodelinda at GlyndebourneSet seemingly entirely at dusk or nighttime, with monochrome make-up, costume and scenery, Jean-Marie Villégier's 1998 Glyndebourne production of Handel's Rodelinda, revived on 12 June, was a dark one.The singing was universally...
Sarah Williamson at the Purcell Room
Sarah Williamson at the Purcell RoomAn imaginative programme, beguiling tone, and zestful presentation spiced the stage of the Purcell Room on 18 May in the Kirckman Concert Society recital by the clarinettist Sarah Williamson, a finalist in the 2002...
Sinfonia Cymru in Swansea
Sinfonia Cymru in SwanseaIt was clear from the audience's response that Sinfonia Cymru's first visit to Oystermouth, on 20 March, made a big impact. In Rossini's Overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers, the Oboe solo sounded exceptionally well and this...
Sydney Opera House New Building Programme
The Sydney Opera House is to undergo a series of renovations and improvements - Chris Monk has been looking at themThe Sydney Opera House, without doubt one of the architectural wonders of the world and perhaps the best known building of the 20thcentury...
Talent at Hurstwood Farm
Talent at Hurstwood FarmFor a large part of the year Hurstwood Farm is not unlike the other farms in the heart of Kent in its production of fruit, chiefly hazelnuts and pears. However, every year between the months of February and July the main house,...
Tatiana Berman
Tatiana Berman met up with Judith MonkRussian born violinist Tatiana Berman is elegant and very, very beautiful. Regular readers will recognise her as gracing the cover of our July-August 2003 issue and we wanted to find out what had been happening in...
Ten Years of the Dillington Guitar Festival
I discovered Dillington House, in Ilminster Somerset, when the Pro Arte Guitar Trio was engaged to give a concert there in the Spring of 1994. As founder and manager of the trio it often fell upon me to liaise with promoters and I clearly remember a...
The International Who's Who in Classical Music 2004 / the International Who's Who in Popular Music 2004
The International Who's Who in Classical Music 2004 Europa Press 1082ppThe International Who's Who in Popular Music 2004 Europa Press 714pp Series Editor: Robert J Elster Cost for Two Volumes £300In my Library I have every edition of the Who's Who in...
The Rape of Lucretia at the Linbury
The Rape of Lucretia at the LinburyThe role of the Linbury Studio Theatre has never been clearly defined. In the five years since the reopening of the Royal Opera House, the 400-seat underground Linbury has intermittently housed visiting companies and...
The ROH Soloists
The ROH SoloistsThe programme of French chamber works given by the Soloists of the Royal Opera House, directed by Peter Manning, in the Floral Hall on 25 April conjured up the atmosphere of a Parisian salon 100 years ago. Both Guy Ropartz and Claude...
THE TALLIS SCHOLARS Sing Thomas Tallis
THE TALLIS SCHOLARS Sing Thomas TallisThe Tallis Scholars directed by Peter PhillipsGimmell CDGIM 2032 CDs 75' 36" & 78' 20"To commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of Talus' birth, commonly assumed to be in 1505, but perhaps in 1504, The Tallis...
Violinists Never Retire
Raymond Cohen at 85 ... Judith Monk enthusesMeeting Raymond Cohen and his beautiful wife Anthya Rael was a real pleasure. Both are animated talkers and have a deep well of interesting tales to tell, illuminating the lives of many famous musical characters...
Welsh Singers' Competition in Cardiff
On 7 June there was added interest in the Welsh Singers' biennial competition, since two of the singers were making their second appearance. For Camilla Roberts, it did prove to be second time lucky. The soprano from Wrexham has already capitalised on...
Wu Qian at the Purcell Room
Wu Qian at the Purcell RoomThroughout her varied programme at the Purcell Room on 19 May, 22- year old Londonbased Chinese pianist Wu Qian demonstrated an impressive technical flair, an easy virtuosity and a warm sound coupled with a wonderful sensitivity...