Short Stories Of A Different Kind

Short Stories is an album with music from various composers performed beautifully by two young German musicians: Mark Schumann (cello) and Martin Klett (piano).

The short stories in this CD are encore pieces by a variety of performers and composers. Like an author’s collection of short stories, these pieces delight or thrill for a brief moment and do not require the commitment and engagement of a novel or, in this case, of a full concerto or a set of complete sonatas.

Short Stories is suitable to anyone who loves the sound of the cello or to someone who would like a gentle, elegant introduction to classical music. Read my full review.

In Time For Easter

Sacred Duets – an unusual work featuring repertoire that is seldom heard, well delivered by countertenor Valer Sabadus and soprano Nuria Rial owner of a lovely clear, pure and pristine voice. Whether you are religious or not this comes just in time for Easter.  Review can be read here or by clicking on above CD cover.



The Albanian Tenor

TRAVIATA_MET_3199a from Ken

On Saturday 4th October I went to the Royal Opera House where I interviewed young Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu.

Intelligent, committed to his art, professional and with a good sense of humour, he was a very interesting subject to interview. You can read it here.

Photo of Saimir Pirgu as Alfredo in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata, New York, by Ken Howard – courtesy of Mr Pirgu’s PR Karen Kriendler Nelson of KKN Enterprises

Taste the opera!

Glorious Glyndebourne is the title of the blu-ray that Glyndebourne Opera House has launched to celebrate their 80th anniversary.

So, Happy Birthday Glyndebourne for 80 glorious years of opera.

The blu-ray gives you a good taste of the quality of the opera productions at Glyndebourne and, if you have never been there, it may make you wish you had.

Read my review here.

Glyndebourne_blu-ray cover

Joyce DiDonato on Twitter for San Diego Opera

827516-1395766850-wide-San Diego Opera Hs

Opera is an extraordinary art form; art is what makes us different from other animals. So, I believe that it is always worth saving any opera house or opera company! My words but Joyce DiDonato said on Twitter:

Joyce DiDonato @JoyceDiDonato

“You guys are FABULOUS! But not fabulous enough just yet…approaching 7K signatures – COME ON! DO THIS!! PLEASE SIGN!

Joyce is actively trying to prevent a closure of an excellent opera house on what appears to be very feeble grounds. Have a look and if you think it is important to save San Diego Opera, sign the petition (via the above link) and share it!

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

Christiane Karg: A Real Breath of Fresh Air!

Christiane Karg is a young German soprano (33) with a flourishing international career, which has naturally developed from her already celebrated, distinguished work in Germany and Austria. She is the owner of a delightful voice, with crystal clear tone and easy, very warm high notes, a solid, accomplished technique and an admirable enunciation and intonation of whatever language she happens to be singing. Her personality is cheerful, straight-forward, open and honest but at the same time she is vivacious, spontaneous and there is a quiet strength that emanates from within her once she begins to speak about her work.

She is an honest, determined, passionate singer and a charming, spontaneous, warm and genuine human being. Her energy and vivacity are contagious; her knowledge and professionalism commendable. Whether she is speaking about herself, her colleagues or her work, she is always open in her opinions, truthful and appealingly natural. In a world where image and perception seem to be everything, Ms Karg was to me a real breath of fresh air. Read my full interview with Christiane Karg. Enjoy!

Christiane Karg 17703 High Res 
Photos of Christiane Karg by Gisela Schenker, courtesy of Ms Karg’s management

Boston Ballet: Sexy! Beautiful! Electrifying!

Last Friday, 5th July, I went to the London Coliseum to review Programme 2 of the Boston Ballet in a rare London appearance. It was 30 years since they last came to London and one must wonder why. A group so good should be showing off all over the place!

Anyway, they came with two programmes and conquered, I think audience and critics alike. I had the privilege of attending the performance of the second programme.

Modern pieces; gorgeous dancers; sexy, sassy dancing and most of all, beautiful and electrifying movements! An exquisite ballet experience!

You can read my review here or click on the photo below.

Altan Dugaraa, Sarah Wroth, and Yury Yanowsky in Kylian's Bella Figura by Gene Schiavone

Photo of Jiří Kylián’s Bella Figura by Gene Schiavone courtesy of press representative

[Dancers on photo: Altan Dugaraa, Sarah Wroth and Yury Yanowsky]

The World of Your Fridge

Ever wondered about what might be lurking behind your fridge? Possibly but I am pretty sure that apart from the obvious creepy crawlies, you didn’t expect to find Pluto and his reign of the Underworld! Neither, I am certain, have you thought that Cupid might suddenly hatch out of one of the eggs that you keep inside your fridge or his followers emerge from a pack of sausages! This however is exactly what happens in Glyndebourne’s brand new production of Jean-Phillipe Rameau’s first opera “Hippolyte et Aricie”. Directed by Jonathan Kent this is French Baroque Opera with an edge.

Imaginative! Original! Over the top but absolutely amazing this is a production that one shouldn’t miss. It captures the spirit of the Baroque and is extremely entertaining while managing to be thoughtful and make the lesson of the opera clear. Excellent cast alongside Glyndebourne chorus and a magnificent performance by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, under the expert, outstanding baton of William Christie, plus a smiling sun and blue skies made for a brilliant, unusual and very satisfying evening, last Saturday, 29th June. You can read my review here.

Hippolyte et Aricie; GLYNDBOURNE,Hippolytus; Ed Lyon,Aricia; Christiane Karg,Phaedre; Sarah Connolly,Theseus; Stéphane Degout,Diana; Katherine Watson,Pluto,Jupiter/Neptune; François Lis,OEnone; Julie Pasturaud,Mercury; Samuel Boden,Arcas,Secon

Hippolyte et Aricie at Glyndebourne Festival 2013 – Photo by Bill Cooper, courtesy of Glyndebourne’s Media Manager

For the Love of Bach!

Nacho Duato’s (a Spanish dancer and choreographer) ballet “Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness” is a declaration of love to Johann Sebastian Bach’s music and a respectful, thrilling tribute to the composer.

The choreography is vibrant, based on a classic, pure line but with twists, turns and beautifully fluid movements. I went to see it, brilliantly performed by the Mikhailovsky Ballet, at the London Coliseum on the evening of Friday, 5th April and was completely taken by it. The photograph gives you a tiny taste of this exquisite ballet. Click on it or here if you would like to read my review.

Multiplicity-Mikhailovsky Ballet

Photograph of “Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness” courtesy of the Mikhailovsky Ballet