Last Night of the Proms 2017 – Stylish and Great!

I was lucky enough to be asked to review The Last Night of the Proms last Saturday 09 September 2017, as a colleague was unable to make it. It was a wonderful concert for all the usual celebrations but also for a peerless Nina Stemme in a varied repertoire plus an entertaining Sakari Oramo conducting the fabulous BBC Singers, BBC Symphomy Chorus and BBC Symphony Orchestra. My review is here if anyone would like to read all about it.

The photo of the Royal Albert Hall on the Last Night is my own and taken shortly before the performance started.

Too Many Notes, my dear Mozart…!

After the premiere of Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio or Harem), it is said that Emperor Joseph II told the composer something around these lines: “Too beautiful for our ears, my dear Mozart, and an awful lot of notes.” To which Mozart replied: “Exactly as many as are necessary, Your Majesty.” It isn’t certain if this episode ever took place but if the Emperor really said that, Mozart’s reply was in line with his personality and with the fact he knew the quality of his music. As a composer Mozart was far ahead of his time and aware of it.

Prom 39_CR_BBC_Chris Christodoulou_1Robin Ticciati and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the BBC Proms on Fri 14 Aug 2015

“Too many notes” doesn’t refer only to the exotic Turkish elements Mozart introduced in the opera which are in line with the location where the plot takes place, Mozart’s music also describes the characters as well as words or, to my mind, even better, displaying his great sense of the dramatic. This wasn’t happening in opera until Mozart came along.

A semi-staging of Glyndebourne Festival’s production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail was presented at the BBC Proms last Friday, 14th Aug at the Royal Albert Hall. It was a lovely evening of music with the cast in costume and the fabulous Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, led by Robin Ticciati, giving an authentic, energetic and beautiful performance of Mozart’s great opera. I had the pleasure of reviewing it.

Prom 39_CR_BBC_Chris Christodoulou_2Prom 39_CR_BBC_Chris Christodoulou_3Tenor Edgaras Montvidas as Belmonte (left) and Soprano Sally Matthews as Konstanze (right) at the Proms performance of Glyndebourne’s production of Die Entführung on Fri 14 Aug 2015

All photos by Chris Christodoulou, courtesy of the BBC Proms Press Office –

Except feature photo above “Seascape of Normandy” courtesy of Malcolm Bull

Brush Up Your Shakespeare!

Prom 21: Kiss me, Kate at the RAH
Prom 21: Kiss me, Kate at the RAH
Photos of “Kiss me, Kate” Ensemble and John Wilson conducting it at RAH in Prom 21 courtesy of BBC Pictures, Copyright: BBC/Chris Christodoulou

Who doesn’t know the opening:

“Brush up your Shakespeare,

Start quoting him now.

Brush up your Shakespeare

And the women you will wow.”

OR the refrain:

“But I’m always true to you, darlin’, in my fashion,

Yes, I’m always true to you, darlin’ in my way.”

They are some of the most memorable moments in Cole Porter’s musical Kiss me, Kate from 1948 and it is as fresh and funny today as it was then.

Prom 21, from this year’s BBC Proms, saw John Wilson and his orchestra give an outstanding performance of Porter’s musical, supporting a fun, humorous semi-staging of the piece at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I was the lucky one who grabbed the review for Seen & Heard.

Last Night of the Proms and A Dream Come True!

As a little girl, growing up in my native country of Portugal, one might think that I did not know anything about the Proms. But in those days, the Portuguese Television used to broadcast live, every summer, the Last Night of the Proms. It became a tradition in my family to watch it together, in particular my father and I. He is a lover of classical music, opera and literature and I owe him my first experiences and learning of all those fantastic things. It should come as no surprise that since then I wanted to be there, in person, at the Royal Albert Hall in the middle of all those lovely people, singing along with the orchestra and soloists, dressed in elaborate costumes and waving their flags; obviously, having a whale of a time. Finally, after so many years, my dream came true and I was a member of the audience at The Last Night of the Proms. And what a Last Night it turned out to be! Read the rest of the review if you enjoyed the beginning

Joyce DiDonato triumphant at the Last Night of the Proms
Prom 75_CR_BBC Chris Christodoulou_10_Joyce DiDonato Prom 75_CR_BBC Chris Christodoulou_18_Alsop
Magnificent Marin Alsop, the first woman to ever conduct a Last Night

Photo Credits & Copyright: Packed Royal Albert Hall (at the top) on Sat, 7th Sept for the Last Night; of Joyce DiDonato and of Marin Alsop taken by Chris Christodoulou for the BBC, courtesy of the BBC Proms Publicity Office

Prom 55 – Fine performances compensate an unsatisfactory Rinaldo!

The Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Handel’s Rinaldo was very satisfying and fabulous from a musical perspective: Cast and orchestra were simply superb. Sadly, the production though inventive had many flaws. You can read my full review here. It was published as usual by Seen and Heard International, immediately after my visit of Prom 55, last Thursday, 25th August.

Verdi’s Requiem at the BBC Proms 2011

 The BBC Proms are here again! Rejoice music lovers!

Last Sunday, 24th July I went to this year’s Prom 13 for a performance of Verdi’s Requiem. I am not religious and therefore the Requiem is in that sense meaningless to me but this is a musical and dramatic masterpiece and its power is undeniable.

The Promers at Sunday’s concert were rewarded with a magnificent performance and a cast of the superlative! Everything was grandiose from the soloists: Joseph Calleja, Marina Poplavskaya, Mariana Pentcheva, Ferrucio Furlanetto; to the choirs (no less than three!): BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC National Chorus of Wales, London Philharmonic Choir, and the fabulous BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by the distinguished Semyon Bychkov. I was there to review it and I must say that music reviews are not always easy to write but this one was a pleasure and my fingers just danced over the keyboard, as if by magic! Read my review here.