Saturday, August 30, 2008

Howard Jacobson, I <3 you

In today's Indy, columnist Howard Jacobson says everything I would like to say about the f*****g Olympics, only he does so so elegantly that it not only makes me laugh but also makes my heart sing. Honest. Here's an extract:

"I am not blind to the beauty of the body. I have watched film – because my wife made me watch film, wishing me to see what she had seen in the flesh – of Nureyev dancing with Fonteyn. I know sublimity when it's before me. But they shake my soul to its foundations not because they are athletes but because their bodies strive to express what their hearts feel and what their minds almost dare not think. Love, of course, will always make a difference. But so will any narrative when the emotions convey it to the body. In itself the body is nothing: it is what the body serves that makes it noble."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Carmen: best of the lot

Seeing the second-to-last performance of Carmen at Glyndebourne yesterday left me convinced all over again that this opera is a complete no-holds-barred masterpiece. The performance there had grown tremendously since the dress rehearsal: huge assurance and relish from the LPO and conductor Stephane Deneve, and Tania Kross as Carmen was a knockout.

But never mind the melodies, the spectacle and the toreador costumes from Seville, it's the last scene that counts the most; and Glyndebourne just can't quite match the Covent Garden production which, as performed here by Anna-Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann, has the most powerful interpretation of it that I've ever been lucky enough to see. Voila.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


A very nice interview re Hungarian Dances from ASWOMAN, a Hungarian online magazine, with many thanks to the lovely Erika Orban! It's in English, btw.

Beware of titles

Especially those proclaiming the death of this, that or the other. Far as I can tell, in this piece from The Times, Stephen Pollard is actually saying that British music is in better shape now, with the likes of James MacMillan and Thomas Ades on board, than it's been for decades.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

O ciel

Mikhail Rudy has written his autobiography, Le Roman d'un pianiste - his 'Russian story', which will be published by Editions du Rocher, France, next week. Few performers are as perfectly au fait with writing as they are with their instruments, but Micha is a notable exception and tells his tale with power and eloquence. Andy Sommer is making a film about him, too, which is due for release in the autumn.