Maestro Riccardo Frizza in Conversation

Maestro Riccardo Frizza is an Italian conductor and a charming, pleasant human being. But don’t take my word for it, read the interview he gave me here or click on his photo and judge for yourself.  Find out why he thinks “music is an exchange of effort and energy” and a lot, lot more. Enjoy!

Photo of Riccardo Frizza by Joan Tomás, courtesy of Karen Kriendler Nelson (Maestro Frizza’s Publicist)

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 Benefit of Technology

I have recently reviewed a CD called Angelic Voices that features recordings of the voices of a variety of boy trebles, spanning from approximately 1964 to 1989. It made me think how lucky we are nowadays for being capable of preserving enormous quantities of beautiful voices, great music and books so easily via the digital media. Take the Kindle for example, how many books can one store in there? I don’t know but I have certainly lost count of how many are stored in mine, from novels to reference books like dictionaries or history.

If we had this kind of technology 250 years ago, for example, we would be able to listen today to the music of Mozart or Beethoven performed or conducted by the composers themselves. We could hear the voices of the specific singers for which Mozart wrote his operas or of the great castrati! Unfortunately, we cannot but at least paper and the written word had naturally already been invented by then, so we can reproduce the music and read accounts of the time to understand what it was like.

Interesting how the mind works and how I deviated from the subject of the CD Angelic Voices! It is actually one of those works that although not memorable, possesses great value from a historical and documenting perspective, as it showcases the voices of so many once talented children. Whether the boys whose lovely voices we hear in the CD made a big musical or singing career when they grew up is another matter. Although some of them did, many did not but this is an irrelevant fact. Important is really that the voices were truly beautiful (some more than others, naturally) and are a delight to listen to.


Seen & Heard International now floating on cloud nine!

MusicWeb International has always had a section dedicated to Reviews of live concerts and opera performances across the world. However, this part of the site was limited and reviews could only be published twice a week. This has now changed and for the better!

Seen and Heard International has its own independent site, based in the “cloud” (even though it continues to have a connection with MusicWeb). The point is that the site looks amazing, it is easier to use, it can now publish reviews on a daily basis and we have added ballet to our portfolio. We all feel very proud of our new site! So, please check it here.  Happy browsing!

Vivaldi, a serious case of popularity!

What do you know about Vivaldi? Confronted with such question, most people will tell you that they know Vivaldi was an Italian composer and that he wrote The Four Seasons. In fact, tunes from The Four Seasons come out from anywhere nowadays and often from the least expected places: For example, as the musical background to some TV commercial, the door bell to a neighbour’s house; in fact, you only need to walk around the supermarket and you will surely hear (at least once) a tune from The Four Seasons coming out of a mobile phone! It is arguably the most popular piece of classical music; one that everybody will be able to name and that anyone will instantly recognise! However, how many of us have actually listened to The Four Seasons in full? How many of us know that Vivaldi was a great composer of the Baroque Period? How many of us are aware that he was a prolific composer who created an astonishing number of music in a wide variety of genres?

So, I ask you:  Have you ever heard of Vivaldi, the opera composer? No? Well, it is really the very same Vivaldi that wrote The Four Seasons and what a delight his operas are. Whether you like classical music or not, at some point in time, you heard an extract from The Four Seasons and you will almost certainly recognise it as soon as you hear the initial bars of “Spring”. So, why not try a little more Vivaldi beyond the familiar tunes of The Four Seasons? Listen to the complete piece. You will be surprised how the music will speak to you; how, with your eyes closed, you will be able to perceive all the differences, see all the nuances and colours, understand the changes and admire the beauty of each season, as vividly as if you were watching a movie. Afterwards, surely, you will want to know Vivaldi better.

Perhaps start by reading this article about a recent Vivaldi recording that I reviewed  then, if you like what I wrote, try to listen to the CD itself, as it is a lovely introduction to the composer.

Finally, if you really, really liked it then try a little opera by Vivaldi and none better than Ottone in villa, his first. Click below on the CD to read my review of an excellent recorded performance of it. If you have an opportunity listen to it and let me know how you felt. I guarantee: If you are not immediately hooked, then your heart is not human!