Ballet Review (Leeds), Music and Theatre Reviews (Leeds)

Northern Ballet’s The Nutcracker: at Leeds Grand Theatre from 4 Dec 2018

Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet is given a sensitive and beautifully imagined performance. The Christmas period—it is not complete, these days, without It’s A Wonderful Life, some version of A Christmas Carol, Handel’s Messiah, and, of course, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. As Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director (as well as director of choreography, costume design, and scenario for the present production), David Nixon OBE,… Continue reading Northern Ballet’s The Nutcracker: at Leeds Grand Theatre from 4 Dec 2018

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Music and Theatre Reviews (Leeds)

Silent Night: the UK première, Opera North at Leeds Town Hall, 30 Nov 201

This UK première proves ‘well worth driving from the Lakes for’. Richard Mantle, Opera North’s General Director, tells us in the programme that this production—alongside Not Such Quiet Girls, already reviewed in these pages by the able hand of Mr Graham—represents the ‘pivotal point’ of Opera North’s current season, ‘Before War and After’. And what a… Continue reading Silent Night: the UK première, Opera North at Leeds Town Hall, 30 Nov 201

Music and Theatre Reviews (Leeds)

Christopher Maltman and Joseph Middleton, ‘The Soldier—from Severn to Somme’ (Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, 22 Nov 2018)

At the Howard Assembly Room, a moving and intelligently compiled programme is given a beautiful—if slightly loud—performance. One of the chief delights of the classical song recital is that the comparatively short form of the Lied (song) allows for imaginative, thematic programming, and the present concert is in this regard exemplary. As baritone Christopher Maltman… Continue reading Christopher Maltman and Joseph Middleton, ‘The Soldier—from Severn to Somme’ (Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, 22 Nov 2018)

Music and Theatre Reviews (Leeds), Poetry

Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (1962), Performed at Leeds Town Hall, Sat 17th Nov 2018, by BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Leeds Festival Chorus, City of Glasgow Chorus, and Cantabile Choir conducted by Simon Wright; Soloists Evelina Dobraceva (Soprano), Andrew Staples (Tenor), and Benjamin Appl (Baritone)

Britten’s great masterpiece is given a performance full of immense skill and emotional power. One can immediately tell from the forces required for this piece—three choirs, two orchestras, three soloists—as well as the fact that this one piece takes up a whole evening’s programme, that we are dealing with something of a behemoth. And, I… Continue reading Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (1962), Performed at Leeds Town Hall, Sat 17th Nov 2018, by BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Leeds Festival Chorus, City of Glasgow Chorus, and Cantabile Choir conducted by Simon Wright; Soloists Evelina Dobraceva (Soprano), Andrew Staples (Tenor), and Benjamin Appl (Baritone)

Music and Theatre Reviews (Leeds), Shakespeare

Review of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (directed by Lindsay Posner) and Macbeth  (directed by Damian Cruden) at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, York, 4 Aug 2018 and 14 Aug 2018

(This article was unpublished.) This summer York added one more to its ordinary stock of tourist attractions and general wonders in the construction of a pop-up early modern-style theatre, situated elegantly beside the great landmark of Clifford’s Tower. This was modelled after the Rose Theatre which stood from 1587 to c. 1606 on London's south… Continue reading Review of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (directed by Lindsay Posner) and Macbeth  (directed by Damian Cruden) at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, York, 4 Aug 2018 and 14 Aug 2018

Music and Theatre Reviews (Leeds)

Pumeza Matshikiza and Simon Lepper: Life and Love, Howard Assembly Room, Wed 31st Oct 2018

A fine but ostensibly unspectacular concert takes a surprising, delightful and memorable turn. Schumann, Five Songs from Myrthen, Opus 25 Schumann, Frauenliebe und –leben, Opus 42 Richard Strauss, Four Last Songs Reynaldo Hahn, Three Songs from Venezia Folk Songs from South Africa Pumeza Matshikiza is a striking South African soprano with a burgeoning operatic career and a couple of… Continue reading Pumeza Matshikiza and Simon Lepper: Life and Love, Howard Assembly Room, Wed 31st Oct 2018

Poetry, Wordsworth

The Eight Greatest Poems of William Wordsworth (Society of Classical Poets, 6 Oct 2018)

N.B.: This essay was originally published by The Society of Classical Poets (http://classicalpoets.org/the-eight-greatest-poems-of-william-wordsworth/). October 6, 2018 by Charles Eager William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland, in 1770—the same year as gave us Beethoven, Hegel, and Hölderlin—and died at the age of eighty, rich in the knowledge of his huge accomplishments, in Rydal Mount, Westmorland,… Continue reading The Eight Greatest Poems of William Wordsworth (Society of Classical Poets, 6 Oct 2018)