Archive for Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The Shrinking Seasons at WNO

Posted in Opera with tags , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2017 by telescoper

I was excited to receive the brochure shown above for the 2017/18 season at Welsh National Opera, but although it contains some very exciting things there are also many signs that times are getting very tough at WNO.

This October sees the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution so it’s no surprise that the Autumn season has a distinctive Russian flavour. There’s Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Mussorgky’s Khovanschina and Janáček’s From the House of the Dead. Yes, I know Janáček wasn’t Russian – but `From the House of the Dead’ is based on a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who was…

That looks like an interesting season, but there are only two performances of From the House of the Dead in Cardiff (both of which I think I’ll have to miss) and only three each of Eugene Onegin and Khovanschina. There’s also an additional performance of Johan Strauss’s light operetta Die Fledermaus, which is one of this year’s productions.

Spring 2018 sees performances of Puccini’s Tosca, Verdi’s La Forza del Destino and Mozart’s Don Giovanni which again looks like a nice season. I’ve seen the productions of Tosca and Don Giovanni before, but won’t mind seeing them again.

But the real disappointment is that there’s no Summer season at all. Austerity has clearly bitten very hard. For year’s I’ve been celebrating my birthday (which falls in June) by going to a WNO performance in Cardiff but I guess next year I’ll just have to do something else….

Waltz of the Snowflakes

Posted in Music with tags , , , on January 17, 2017 by telescoper

A gift for fellow snowflakes everywhere….

A Grand Pas de Deux

Posted in Music with tags , , on December 20, 2015 by telescoper

The rain’s lashing down outside so instead of going out I thought I’d indulge myself with a bit of musical entertainment. This piece is the Grand Pas de Deux from a seasonal Christmas favourite, the ballet The Nutcracker, by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Op. 71). It reminds of an occasion, almost twenty years ago, when I had the chance to go to a concert at the Berliner Philharmonie. This was such a long time ago that I’ve forgotten which visiting orchestra was playing, although I do remember that it was Russian and extremely good. The main programme consisted of Stravinsky (Petrushka Suite) and Shostakovich (Symphony No. 10) but at the end they did this as an encore. In performances of the ballet this piece is usually taken quite slowly to accommodate the dancers but, as is more often the case in concert performances, this time the orchestra took it at a brisk pace and with so much passion and colour it was like I was hearing it for the very first time. People can be snobbish about Tchaikovsky because he’s “too popular”. Well, this is a popular piece for one reason and one reason only: it’s beautiful.