Posted inPlaylist

An Operatic Coronation Playlist

In Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie, there’s a portrait of Emperor Francis I of Austria (1792-1806) that bears a marked resemblance to King Charles III. Unsurprisingly, given how prone royals are to marrying within their own family, the pair are distantly related. At times, working on this playlist, which charts the royal lineage into which Charles officially […]

Posted inInterview

Places of Refuge

Before February 24, 2022, Serhiy Lykhomanenko was the conductor of the MASO “Slobozhansky” Symphony Orchestra in Kharkiv and the Eclectic Sound Orchestra in Kyiv. Now, he is the Head of Public Relations for the Fifth Assault Regiment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “At the moment, we’re at the epicenter of the battles for the […]

Posted inBreaking

Agility, Fragility

Much like Harrison Birtwistle, I feel like I’m always writing the same piece, albeit one that’s more wordy, more political, and much more depressing. Following the lead of Arts Council England, who made a mess of both the announcement and communication of their National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding reallocations in November, the BBC too garnished […]

Posted inEssay

Denazifying “Carmina Burana”

The legacies of Wagner and Nietzsche, German geniuses long dead before the advent of the Nazi scourge, still buckle under the taint. Festival destinations like Bayreuth and Oberammergau (home of the Passion Play) that long eluded denazification have, albeit only recently, embraced an ethos of reform. While these people and places were rightly seen as […]

Posted inInterview

The Production of Light

At a time of justified anger at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is easy to forget that decency and courage can still be found in the country today. On February 23, 2022, pianist Polina Osetinskaya wrote on her Facebook profile, “Current mood: turn over in your pillow not to see this reality and cry over […]

Posted inInterview

The Sound of Melting Ice

“Kateryna,” a new opera by Ukrainian composer Alexander Rodin, was scheduled to premiere in Odessa at the end of March 2022. Then Russia invaded Ukraine and the opera house had to temporarily close down. Against all odds, rehearsals resumed in the summer. Directed by Oksana Taranenko, the production celebrated its opening night on September 17 […]

Posted inInterview

Multiple Realities

In the first weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Denys Karachevtsev recorded himself playing Bach’s Fifth Cello Suite in front of bombed-out buildings in Kharkiv. The videos went viral, becoming iconic documents of the beginning of the war. Karachevtsev, aged 30, is a cellist at the opera house in Kharkiv and teaches at the […]

Posted inBreaking

Level Out, Level Down

Today’s offer of investment from Arts Council [sic] of £17 million over the next three years will allow us to increase our national presence by creating a new base out of London, potentially in Manchester.” That last Friday’s public statement from English National Opera was spun by some as a successful outcome sums up the […]

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