Mariinsky, music college, music street

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There’s been a lot of Russian connections this summer. Some fun – football, playing some Rachmaninoff at my latest concert. Some not so fun – basically everything else. With everyone jetting off on holiday and the news looking particularly scary, I’ve been trying to remember some of the cultural and musical moments from my trip to Russia last year. During our stay in St Petersburg I, of course, wanted to visit as many musical spots as possible, and luckily a whole bunch of them are collected together in one handy place! Continue reading

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Wales Millennium Centre

 

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I went to my first opera aged 24 and I was convinced I would hate it (I’d already produced some student performances and played in some orchestras, but this was my first audience experience). I was studying for a postgrad in performance at music college and our very sensible tutors were very keen on us developing ‘portfolios’ just in case those careers as professional musicians didn’t quite work out. One of our tasks was to have a go at writing reviews, but being a poor student meant I wanted to find the cheapest event possible. With a friend we discovered £5 tickets for Welsh National Opera, so we toddled over to the Wales Millennium Centre to settle in for a performance of Puccini’s ToscaContinue reading

Swan Lake, Shostakovich and the Soviets

IMG_5826.JPG2017 is a pretty big year. Both me and Russia are marking big anniversaries. I celebrated a significant birthday, and Russia marked the centenary of the 1917 Revolution. So, you know, basically the same. I decided, ‘why not “celebrate” both’?! St Petersburg and Moscow were both places I’ve always wanted to visit, but they’re both a little more special (and distant) than a typical European city break / weekend-away, so it seemed ideal to combine the two anniversaries!

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Opera: Passion, Power and Politics

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I was lucky enough to go to the press launch of the new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum today – it’s called Opera: Passion, Power and Politics and officially opens this Saturday 30th September. The way the exhibition is structured is around 7 different operas and 7 cities, and the relationship between each – so, absolutely perfect for this blog about music and travel. I don’t think I can claim this is a review but I can share some thoughts about my visit. Continue reading

A whirl around the Vienna State Opera

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I love opera and I love Mahler. So it’s kind of inevitable that someone like me is going to be very keen to visit Vienna State Opera as soon as I have the chance. As with other Viennese places I’ve blogged about, visiting around the time of my summer birthday means no performances. But we did head inside for a tour and got to see some things we wouldn’t have done if we’d just gone to a performance. Continue reading

Opera and outdoor picnics

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What does summer sound like to you? Maybe it’s the pock pock pock of tennis, the buzz buzz buzz of a wasp or the pat pat pat of heavily-applied suncream. For me, it’s the sounds of corks popping, sandwiches being unwrapped and singers doing their vocal exercises. By that I mean the season of opera festivals that signal the beginning of British summer time. I’m going to talk about four different opera picnic combo options: Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Big Screen Opera and firstly, Glyndebourne.

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Musical mooch in Moscow

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I’ve just got back from Russia and had the absolute best time. I can’t recommend the place enough – both St Petersburg and Moscow are drenched in music and history, and you can hardly walk down a street without seeing a plaque with a famous name on it (particularly Lenin’s).

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Lenin woz here

There are numerous individual musical locations I’m going to talk about later, but I thought I’d start off with a musical mooch I took, taking in a few locations within a 30 minute walk in the centre of Moscow. Continue reading