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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Rossini's opera La Cenerentola (Cinderella) is now playing at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Rossini composed Cenerentola in 1817 when he was 25 years old, the year after he wrote The Barber of Seville. Who sings the title role in Lyric's production of Cinderella? Answer >>


      Top Stories

      Tanya Tagaq on Ancient Singing and Eating Baby Seals

      Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq recently brought her sounds to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago during the 2015 World Music Festival Chicago. She has collaborated with some of today’s most acclaimed artists from Björk to Matthew Barney. Her recent album Animism won Canadian album of the year at the 2014 Polaris Music Awards, beating out more... more...

      Hear the Infernal Sounds of H.P. Lovecraft

          The stories of H.P. Lovecraft, one of horror fiction’s forefathers, have influenced artists in all disciplines from authors like Stephen King and Jorge Luis Borges to film directors like Guillermo Del Toro and John Carpenter. But, did you know that Lovecraft has also inspired composers? Composer Ryan Ingebritsen is gearing up for the more... more...

      QUIZ – What Fairy Tale Opera Are You?

      Everyone loves a fairy tale, and one of the most magical ways to experience one is at the opera house! Some of the most beloved operas of all time are inspired by fairy tales and other enchanting stories. What fairy tale opera are you? more...

      10 Facts About Bach’s Coffee Opera You Need to Know

      Yup, that's right, J.S. Bach wrote a chamber opera about coffee. And not just coffee, coffee addiction! Here's some facts about Bach's "Coffee Cantata" and how the piece came to be about. more...

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      BBCSO/Volkov review: charming, witty and disconcerting

      Barbican, London
      Never one to shy away from the strange and surreal, Volkov offset this Richard Ayres premiere with something completely different

      It must be tricky to come up with the right mix for a programme that includes a new work by Richard Ayres. The world that Ayres’s music inhabits is so quirky and unpredictable, so various in its associations and references, that almost anything else can seem uneventful by comparison. But Ilan Volkov never shies away from the surreal and the strange, and in this BBC Symphony Orchestra concert he opted for something completely different to offset Ayres’s piece, surrounding the premiere with works based on Goethe’s poetry, and a classical symphony.

      There were Mendelssohn and Beethoven’s responses to the poem Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, the first a freewheeling overture (something of a rarity, which Elgar quotes in the Enigma Variations), the second a late, rather austere choral setting with the BBC Singers. They also delivered Schubert’s very beautiful version of Gesang der Geister über den Wassern for male voices with an equally low-pitched accompaniment of violas, cellos and double basses. Volkov’s tidy, if slightly subfusc performance of one of the most striking of Haydn’s Sturm und Drang symphonies, No 52 in C minor, came last.

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      Sweeney Todd review – Mrs Lovett steals murderous mish-mash of a show

      Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
      The production’s opera singers and conductor shine in WNO’s somewhat uneven take on Sondheim’s musical of deranged vengeance

      Putting musicals on the operatic stage is still, for some, the beginning of a slippery slope akin to Sweeney Todd’s murderous chute. Yet Stephen Sondheim’s musical was taken up by opera houses five years after its Broadway premiere, and anyone tut-tutting about Welsh National Opera’s new production might note that it features in San Francisco Opera’s current programme, too. The tale of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is part of WNO’s Madness season: Todd, returning to London to seek vengeance for a miscarriage of justice, purports also to seek salvation, but it’s all the starting point for his deranged descent into barbarous killing.

      James Brining’s take on the piece isn’t penny-dreadful or more unsavoury than Mrs Lovett’s gruesome pies, but is a bit of a mish-mash. Set just before Thatcher’s care in the community programme was rolled out, the prologue takes place in Mr Fogg’s asylum, to which Todd’s daughter Johanna will later be consigned by the grotesque paedophile Judge Turpin (Steven Page), and where the WNO chorus play unsettling misfits. But Colin Richmond’s design boxes the action in containers, bloodied corpses sometimes making messy, random exits.

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      This week’s best live music

      Friedrich Cerha day | Jamie xx | Spector | A$AP Rocky | Colin Towns Mask Orchestra | London Sinfionetta: Feldman – For Samuel Beckett

      For long-time indie rock trier Fred McPherson, Spector feels like the last-chance saloon. A mixture of smug fop meets Harry Potterish nerd, he fronts a similarly conflicted band, beset by vulnerability but convinced of greatness. Some were drawn to the band’s debut album Enjoy It While It Lasts, with its romantic exertions in the late-Britpop idiom, but the demand for a new LP, Moth Boys, was a surprise even to Spector. Unswerving from their original plan, the band still play strident synth-pop, atop which McPherson swoons theatrically. It’s a sound that demands a specialised audience – perhaps this will be the time they find it.

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      travel feature

      Discover WFMT's Classical Italy next May! Join Peter van de Graaff on this exclusive twelve-day classical music lover's journey to "Bella Italia" next May. Imagine staying in the heart of Venice in a restored old abbey and experiencing Donizetti' opera La favorite at the historic La Fenice Opera House!

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      A Festival of Julius Fucik

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      Chopin: Preludes

      Deutsche Grammophon 481 1910

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      The Franchomme Project

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      Parry: Choral Music

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