Gurrelieder needs to be big and punchy. Esa-Pekka Salonen certainly did that with an enlarged Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall. The cast was strong, but the star of the performance was the orchestra which responded to each and every nuance of this at times eclectic piece. The sun rise at the end was particularly good. The "stage direction" of colour lights worked reasonably well. Though the choir could have been at least 50% bigger - it just needed that Mahler 8 choral sound which Philharmonic Voices and the choir of CBSO lacked.
I quite forgot the first number in Porgy and Bess is Summertime! Beautifully sung by Nicole Cabell as Bess. On a whole, the chorus number was better sung than the solo numbers - where the diction was generally inadequate. The set (Michael Yeargan) was three-dimensional and worked really well with the many scenes in this work. John Wilson was in his elements in the pit and the orchestra responded with a rhythmic boisterous sound - the best part of the evening.