Planet Hugill is a English-speaking blog specialized in the field of classical music and opera. As such, Planet Hugill is a qualified source of soclassiq, like FT.com Music or Kenneth Woods- A View From the Podium and many others. The oldest article indexed by soclassiq is dated 2018-01-13. Since then, a total of 2080 articles have been written and published by Planet Hugill.
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The last article in Planet Hugill, "Opera North launches its Light Up Lives campaign for Christmas 2020", is dated 2020-12-03. By 2019, this source had published 658 articles (693 since the beginning of 2020). Over the past 12 months, Planet Hugill has published an average of 61 articles per month.
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Opera North's From Couch to Chorus virtual choir project this year [see my article] persuaded over 4,000 people to learn the basics of opera singing from the comfort of their own living rooms via weekly Zoom rehearsals. Described by one participant as 'an anchor in a storm', the sessions proved popular both with those who were missing the social interaction provided by their usual choir practices and those keen to acquire a new skill over lockdown. All felt connected to each other through the act of shared performance. Other, less visible Opera North initiatives this year include arranging performances at 20 care homes in and around Leeds as part of Arts Together for Care Homes, and treating the refugee and asylum seeker families at St Augustine’s Centre in Halifax to a socially-distanced performance of Whistle Stop Opera: Hansel and Gretel. Activities planned include a film of a new Whistle Stop […]
Richard Strauss: Capriccio - Miah Persson - Garsington Opera 2018 (Photo Johan Persson) When feeling low in the midst of stress or in the dark days of mid-Winter, it is often comforting to make holiday plans, to leaf through brochures. The plans may come to naught, but simply knowing that they might happen, that there is something to look forward to, is a big boost. It is perhaps in this vein that we should peruse Garsington Opera's 2021 season brochure, celebrating its 10th anniversary at Wormsley. There is much to anticipate. There is a new production of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier (shared with Irish National Opera and Santa Fe Opera) directed by Bruno Ravella [who directed Verdi's Falstaff at the festival in 2018] with Miah Persson making her role debut as the Marschallin [Persson made a fine Countess in Capriccio in 2018, see my review], with Hannah Hipp as […]
Revolving Rondo: Nils Klöfver's engaging recital explores the work of virtuoso guitarist composers from the 16th century to the present day
Revolving Rondo; Nils Klöfver Reviewed by Robert Hugill on 30 November 2020 Star rating: 3.0 (★★★) The Swedish guitarist's latest disc showcases not just his alto guitar, but the work of guitarist composers from the 16th to the 21st centuriesI was first introduced to the 11-string alto guitar in 2015 when Swedish guitar player Nils Klöfver released an album celebrating the instrument's 50th anniversary. Nils Klöfver's latest album, Revolving Rondo, uses both the alto guitar and the six-string classical guitar in a programme which is designed to showcase some of the 'most game changing compositions written by the instrument’s greatest virtuosos.' The recital begins with the 16th century Luis de Milan and then continues chronologically with Alonso Mudarra, John Dowland, Sylvius Leopold Weiss, Fernando Sor, Francisco Tarrega, Agustin Barrios, Andres Segovia, Roland Dyens and ending with Klöfver's own composition, Revolving Rondo. The alto guitar developed in […]
Gluck: Orphée et Eurydice - Benjamin Williamson - INvision Opera A new film of Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice made under lockdown becomes an intriguing premise when the couple in the opera, Orfeo and Eurydice are played by real-life couple Benjamin Williamson (counter-tenor) and Paula Sides (soprano), with the film being made in Williamson and Sides' own home (filmed by Jan Capinski) along with the couple's two children. The film was directed and conceived by Timothy Nelson and is available on the INvision website. Accompaniment is on piano, played by Simone Luti and the off-stage chorus is the Shenandoah Chorus, director Matthew Owen. The project's title is Orphée et Eurydice and though sung in Andrew Albin's new poetic translation, the French version of the names is being used so presumably we are talking the Berlioz edition here.The perspicacious amongst you will have spotted a lack in the credits, Amour. […]
In Motion: United Strings of Europe's debut disc features three contemporary works alongside two classics in a strongly coloured programme
In Motion - Schubert, Hindson, Boccherini, Corrales, Farr; United Strings of Europe, Amalia Hall, Julian Azkoul; BIS Reviewed by Robert Hugill on 1 December 2020 Star rating: 3.5 (★★★½) A lively young string ensemble's debut disc features a characterful programme with three contemporary works alongside two classicsUnited Strings of Europe is a lively young string ensemble directed by Anglo-Lebanese violinist Julian Azkoul. The group's debut disc, on BIS, features an eclectic mix with three contemporary works, Matthew Hindson's Malinga, Arturo Corrales' Señores, les voy a contar…, and Gareth Farr's Mondo Rondo alongside Schubert's Quartetsatz in C minor and Luigi Boccherini's Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid. The ensemble is joined by violinist Amalia Hall (soloist in the Hindson) and conductor Franck Fontcouberte, who conducts the Hindson and the Corrales; the remaining works are directed from the violin by Julian Azkoul. We begin with Schubert's 1820 Quartetsatz, his […]
Bristol Brass Consort This year's round up of discs for Christmas and Advent proved to be quite an eclectic mix. There are carols of course, traditional, modern and everything in between, but we also visit 17th century Puebla with its lively villancicos (showing that nuns singing with guitars in church was certainly not a new phenomenon) and skip back 800 years for a programme of medieval carols with readings. Contemporary music features quite strongly, with at least one disc featuring exclusively contemporary composers. Also featured rather too strongly is Britten's A Ceremony of Carols in various different combinations of forces. Alongside discs from Christmas regulars, it is nice to see other choirs such as Clifton Cathedral Choir, and the choir of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. Perhaps the most surprising disc is a large scale work for male voice choir, children's choir and orchestra by a Georgian composer, […]
A record dedicated to those who believe in ‘ the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of imagination.’
Slavonic Reflections; Chopin, Janáček, Medtner, Lyadov; Nelly Akopian-Tamarina; Pentatone Reviewed by Bryce Morrison on 2 December 2020 Star rating: 5.0 (★★★★★) Recorded live at the Wigmore Hall, a highly personal selection of piano music from the distinguished Russian pianistChopin's Mazurkas and Janáček's Into the Mists with encores by Lyadov and Medtner, performed by Nelly Akopian-Tamarina (piano) recorded live at the Wigmore Hall, on Pentatone. Nelly Akopian-Tamarina’s recital entitled Slavonic Reflections given at the Wigmore Hall is a truly transcendental experience in the sense that it takes you far beyond the conventional or readily accessible. Never a pianist who uses a composer as a spring-board for personal and preening excess her playing is as natural as it is unselfconsciously exploratory, making you pause, reconsider, feel and think again in music filled with shadows and unresolved conflict. More than ever she confirms my view that the […]
Earlier this year opera-ballet company Constella, artistic director Leo Geyer, launched its Connecting Stars scheme to provide free one-to-one virtual performances to isolated care home residents. To help raise money to continue their series and meet growing demand, the company is creating an on-line Christmas Gala which launches on 8 December 2020. Filmed in Studio Wayne McGregor, the first half is based around Leo Geyer's critically acclaimed Sideshows [see my review of the work at 2014 Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival], along with performances ranges from Piazzolla to Bizet's Carmen. The second half will be a Christmas wonderland using music from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker choreographed by Jaered Glavin. Since the launch of Connecting Stars, over 50 care homes have taken part with nearly 150 performances reaching over 2,000 residents. Loneliness amongst the elderly has long been a shocking crisis in the UK and it’s only exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic […]
Southbank Sinfonia has been thinking creatively about what can be achieved musically within the limits of social distancing, and using these limits as a springboard for some imaginative thinking. Across three Fridays in December the ensemble is broadcasting new films intended to give the audience a new immersive experience. Filmed at the Round Chapel in Hackney, each film will immerse the viewer within the sound of the orchestra as if wandering through a live performance. Conducted by Chloé van Soeterstède, the three performances will explore underperformed music. On 4 December 2020 comes Cecilia McDowall’s Rain, Steam, and Speed (2006) is a symphonic journey inspired by JMW Turner’s painting of the same name. On 11 December there is Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst (2012) and Sally Beamish’s Reckless (2012). Starburst depicts the unpredictable nature of a group of stars so powerful it changes the structure of an entire galaxy, whilst Reckless is […]
In September this year an invitation went out from the Commonwealth Secretariat to invite musicians from all 54 countries in the Commonwealth to participate in an ambitious project. One musician has been selected from each country, and the musicians have recorded themselves performing alongside a track recorded by the Dionysius Ensemble. The final video, which will be released next month, will thus feature musicians from all 54 Commonwealth countries performing together in Michael Higgins arrangement of the Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts. (The Dionysus Ensemble's recording of Simple Gifts is available on YouTube.) As well as recording their contribution to the final video, each of the 54 Commonwealth musicians will be recording a short video introducing themselves and their country. The idea behind the project is to demonstrate the power of music and art to lift spirits, improve mental health and encourage international camaraderie, as countries face up to the challenges […]