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      QUIZ: Match the Film to the Score

      How well do you know movie music? Listen to the excerpts from the following famous film scores, and see if you can match the music to the correct movie. more...

      Classical Music’s Most Memorable Moments on Sesame Street

      Whether teaching the ABCs or addressing decidedly more grown-up topics, Sesame Street has expanded children's minds and hearts since its debut nearly fifty years ago. Many musicians have visited Sesame Street, introducing people of all ages to great music. There have been many inspiring musical moments on Sesame Street, but here are some of WFMT's favorites! more...

      These Photoshopped Pictures of Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde Will Make You Literally LOL

      Christine Goerke has set the world on fire with what the Wall Street Journal described as her “big, blazing soprano.” Recently she’s set the internet ablaze not with her voice, but with her sense of humor. When Goerke posted a production photo from the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Siegfried, in which she plays the role more... more...

      New Opera Exposes Horrors of My Lai Massacre

      “The story of Hugh Thompson in My Lai and the opposition of the Vietnam War is what led me from high school into adulthood,” said Jonathan Berger, composer and professor at Stanford University. Over forty years later, Berger composed an operatic monodrama, "My Lai," that follows Hugh Thompson’s story in various snapshots, from the horrific day in My Lai to reflective moments throughout his life. more...

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      Hacienda Classical review – Madchester glory days with strings attached

      Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
      Manchester Camerata and stars of the acid-house era party like it’s 1989 in a messy and euphoric celebration of the legendary superclub

      Hacienda Classical is the sort of idea a raver might come up with after a mad one: take the tunes once played in Manchester’s legendary Hacienda club in the acid house “summers of love” and recreate them with a 70-piece orchestra and choir. Thus, a stone’s throw from the original building (now a block of flats), original DJs Graeme Park and Mike Pickering line up with the Manchester Camerata. There’s a cultural clash as the usually sedate venue plays host to whistling ravers, and has hard-faced bouncers on the door. Veteran Moss Side rapper MC Tunes’ rambling introduction may or may not include the words “nice one, top one, sorted” because he’s totally unintelligible.

      It’s an early warning of a deeper problem with the sound, so bad it could be coming through the remnants of the club’s infamous original system, recovered from a skip. A muffled aural soup of mainly bass drum struggles to drown out the crowd, while the orchestra are so inaudible they could be equally playing Beethoven or the Teletubbies theme.

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      The Magic Flute review – happy return of an exhilaratingly inventive production

      Coliseum, London
      Featuring the best sung Pamina in years from Lucy Crowe, this revival of Simon McBurney’s ENO staging is highly engaging

      The exhilarating achievement of Simon McBurney’s highly engaging production of Mozart’s Magic Flute for ENO, first seen at the Coliseum in 2013, is to draw its audience in by returning the piece to its roots as an eclectic entertainment. The unique theatrical personality of the piece is captured right from the start, with the orchestra raised from the pit to become very much part of a stage show that evolves around them and in which, in the case of the flautist and the celeste player, they actively participate.

      Related: ENO's woes: opera company begins new year in offstage turmoil

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      L’Etoile review – where opera meets panto

      Royal Opera House, London
      A decisive performance of Chabrier’s decorous score is at odds with the lumbering absurdity of the plot of L’Etoile

      In director Mariame Clément’s production of Emmanuel Chabrier’s L’Etoile (1877), receiving its Covent Garden premiere, we get off to a lively start – the overture is accompanied by mime. Against an oriental screen, on opposite sides of the stage, are a leather Chesterfield and an armchair occupied by two preening gents, as if to evoke a London club in an Edwardian moment. Smith (splendid comedian and actor Chris Addison) vanishes behind his newspaper and pops back into view for each fresh swig of tea. His opposite number, Dupont, is the excellent French actor Jean-Luc Vincent, and in tandem they jolly the evening along.

      To the sound of yearning strings, they tuck into breakfast, fidget with sugar tongs and get dressed (Dupont twirls to the music while forcing his foot into a boot). But what they are preparing to face is not the day but the opera itself. This is Clément’s postmodern initiative: they are the critics who will apologise for – or intervene to clarify – a potentially confounding plot. At one point Addison even has an amusing altercation with conductor Mark Elder (celebrating 40 years at Covent Garden), addressing him in the pit, urging him not to repeat a tune (although, actually, it is the orchestra’s decisive performance that glues the evening together).

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      new releases

      Brahms: Piano Trio & Quartet

      Harmonia Mundi HMC-902222

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      Beethoven: Overtures & Triple Concerto

      Sony Classical 88883763622

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      Images from the South

      Naxos 8.573442

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      John Rutter: The Gift of Life

      Collegium COLCD-138

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      Downton Abbey: The Ultimate Collection

      Decca B0024411-02

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