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Showing posts from April, 2018

Poème symphonique, British Museum

Now how often does one get to hear Ligeti's "joke" Poème symphonique? It came about recently at the British Library. Or rather, it was performed in the old British Library reading room. 100 metronomes arranged neatly on a platform, lit, and poised to commence. After a short introduction, a small team of museum staff flicked the metronomes and the performance started. It was a cacophony of sound echoed by the reading room's unique acoustic. It's strangely mesmerizing and hypnotic. From time to time, some metronomes came together into unison, and then dissipated. It had an organic quality to it. If one ever wondered, it took about 25 minutes until the last remaining metronome on Largo came to a stop. It was fun!

Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, the Royal Opera

This was a great revival of the 2004 Richard Jones production of Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District for the Royal Opera. The production hadn't aged and felt relevant. Eva-Maria Westbroek was a fantastic Katerina - taking the lead in this credible and crazy story of a small Soviet town. Brandon Jovanovich's portrayal of Sergey was cool and boyish, complimenting the lead. I loved John Tomlinson's boorish Boris - no doubt he enjoyed being mischievous, stomping around and terrorizing everyone on stage!

This probably wasn't Pappano's native territory - but he brought the subtle ironies in the score out, helped by the farting extra brass section in the boxes. What if Shostakovoch wrote more operas? We would never know.