Saturday, December 24, 2011

5 Top Things to Do/See/Hear Over Christmas

1. Tosca is on BBC2 this afternoon, recorded in July at the Royal Opera House with Angela Gheorghiu as Tosca, Jonas Kaufmann as Cavaradossi and Bryn Terfel as Scarpia. Previously cinecast, now coming to a TV near you...


Tony Pappano conducts, and he will introduce the work in a documentary an hour before, at 1.35pm. Details here.

2. Medici TV is offering a free day of viewing for all on Boxing Day. Don't miss the chance to sample the startling array of wonderful performances on this digital online channel, devoted to music, opera and ballet, which normally requires a subscription (which can be rather good value). If you need a last-minute gift for a music-lover, btw, they have special gift subscription packages. Start here.

3. Go to see The Nutcracker, if you haven't already. On 27 December the classic Birmingham Royal Ballet production is coming to the O2, which is the proud possessor of a five-figure number of seats and an array of affordable tickets. Building on the smash-hit of the Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet last summer, which was the O2's first venture into such territory, this Nutcracker promises much and the cast is led by the BRB's top principal dancers, including Nao Sakuma, Cesar Morales and Robert Parker.

4. Pop over to The Guardian for a week from Boxing Day to see a free streaming of Glyndebourne's production of Hansel und Gretel - a slightly close-to-the-bone staging by Laurent Pelly of the Humperdinck classic. It's energetic, painfully funny, gloriously sung and at times jolly scary too. Jennifer Holloway and Adriana Kucerova are in the title roles. And the witch's house set is one of the cleverest, and most sinister, that you could hope for. Tom Service introduces the opera here: "Fatten kid. Cook. Then eat..."  

5. Make a resolution about music for the new year and start on it right now. Here's mine: practise more.