CBC Radio 2′s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera today broadcasts the Canadian Opera Company’s 2010-11 season production of John Adams’ Nixon in China, starting at 1 p.m. Eastern.
COC Orchestra musicians griped during rehearsals about how brutal is was to mechanically repeat the same musical figures over and over again, but the result for the audience was captivating. The production was conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado, who won a Dora award last year for his music direction.
Heras-Casado is a young conductor collecting laurel after laurel, and has just led his first concert as the principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He made shimmering magic out of Adams’ pattern music, while the singers, led by Robert Orth as Nixon, did a wonderful job of bringing to life the strange dichotomies between the inner and public lives of fascinating figures of contemporary history.
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Canada’s Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy are treating the Cadogan Hall audience in London today with an intriguing French Baroque programme. The concert starts at 10 a.m. Eastern, but will be available for on-demand streaming on the Proms site for the next seven days.
There’s already a substantial list of great listening from this year’s Proms season.
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Goodies from this Swiss mountaintop music extravaganza are collecting for free on-demand streaming at medici.tv.
Two solo-piano recitals from the Verbier Church deserve particular attention:
On Tuesday morning, the French pianist (who makes his Toronto Symphony début this coming season), laid out selections from Book I of the Préludes by Claude Debussy and from the Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti.
It’s fascinating to witness how his relationship to the keyboard changes as he goes from Debussy’s travels into some other artistic dimension and Scarlatti’s drama-laden experiments in keyboard virtuosity.
The encores are just as captivating, including the aching Adagio from J.S. Bach’s transcription of an oboe concerto by Alessandro Marcello (BWV 974), and Tharaud’s signature piece, Francois Couperin’s Tic Toc Choc.
(If you haven’t seen Tharaud play before, you’ll notice that he always has the score in front of him. He realised early in his career that this was the only way he would be ever be able to overcome stage fright.)
Listen and watch here.
On Saturday morning, the winner of last year’s International Tchaikovsky Competition showed off his much-touted talents. I was only able to catch his two encores live (a sparkling Liszt reminiscence of Schubert’s Die Forelle and Stravinsky’s Danse Infernale), but they were impressive enough to suggest the whole recital is worth seeking out.
On the programme was more Debussy, as well as the complete Op. 10 and Op. 25 Etudes by Frédéric Chopin.
Having high-definition video available for these concerts is nice, but seeing sweat streaming down a pianist’s face, soaking his hair and shirt, is really not that appealing. Fortunately, the music itself should be.
It should be available for on-demand viewing by Sunday morning here.
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