Thursday, 31 December 2015

End of the year

Concert-going for 2015 has drawn to a close, alas. Here are some personal highlights.

Finest opera. The extraordinary sounds produced by the OAE for Saul mark it out as special indeed. Purves and Davies were on absolute top form. Obviously an oratorio, but let's not be pedantic.
New opera. I came out of Between Worlds and felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach. Was it even an opera? As much as a soundscape as an opera. 
Exceptional recital: Gerhaher for detailed work: Joyce for astonishing range and maximum goosebumps.
Symphonic performance: Ashkenazy showed how spellbinding both Sibelius and the Philharmonia  can be: I hope 2016 will provide more evidence of this.

Chamber: it may have come late but Beethoven PC3 with the SCO was fiery, iridescent and unforgettable.  

Farewell to a crowd-pleaser: to Copley's Boheme - a charming production. Whatever will follow it? (The most recent number of Opera notes that Sonya Yoncheva and Michael Fabiano with Pappano next year; production by Richard Jones. Playing it safe, rather wisely).

Hello to a new one: Die Entführung aus dem Serail is likely to be long a crowd pleaser whenever it is revived.
Best concert performance of an opera, and overall winner by a country mile: the CBSO's Parsifal at Symphony Hall in May was nothing short of a transformative experience. The CBSO delivered a singularly powerful and thrilling performance which will be remembered for many years; all the more perfect for not being broadcast or repeated. Unfathomably good.

Highlights for 2016:
Joyce in Werther: any excuse for a bit of Joyce.
Iestyn Davies's revival of David in Saul (one night only - he is not listed yet on Barbican site, but Davies lists it on his. Not to be missed.)
Gerhaher in Tannhauser: that voice and all that brass.
ON Rings promise fine music and a provincial company really stepping up to the major league.

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