We have received images of the Royal Ballet’s controversial new production of Hansel and Gretel from Lebrecht photographer, Laurie Lewis. The Brothers Grimm fairy tale Hansel and Gretel gets a sinister update in the first full length ballet choreographed by Royal Ballet’s Artist-in-Residence Liam Scarlett. The ballet opened to mixed reactions. Read audience tweets from the opening night here: http://www.roh.org.uk/news/your-reaction-hansel-and-gretel. James Hay stars as Hansel, Leanne Cope as Gretel, Brian Moloney as the Witch and Steve McRae as the Sandman.
Two Major Polish musical anniversaries coming up on the classical music calendar are Witold Lutoslawski this year and Andrezej Panufnik next year.
Musical commentator Norman Lebrecht writes: ‘Poland is defined by musical statements. The liberation cry was articulated by Frédéric Chopin, mostly in Paris. It misled many successors onto a trail of false nostalgia for a prelapsarian paradise that never was.
At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, newly independent Poland was represented by its first prime minister, the pre-eminent pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski.
“Vous-êtes Paderewski, le grand pianiste, n’est-ce pas?” cried Georges Clemenceau.
“Oui, Monsieur le President.”
“Alors, quelle chute!”
Paderewski may not have seen politics as a comedown, but he lived to see his dream soured by Polish strife and crushed by a second German invasion. His music, like Chopin’s, clung to 19th-century conventions of romantic nationalism. In the next generation, Karel Szymanowski’s complex individualised idiom was condemned for its lack of patriotic zeal. Music in Poland was supposed to conform to political expectations.
Read the full article in Standpoint by Norman Lebrecht.
Janos Starker, one of the greatest cellists of all time, died in Bloomington, Indiana, USA where he had been a professor at the Indiana University Jacobs Memorial School of Music since 1958. He was a distinguished teacher and prolific recording artist, who played principal cello in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for five seasons during the 1950s.
5 July 1924 – 28 April 2013
Richie Havens – American folk singer and guitarist died 22 April 2013 aged 72. He is best remembered for his intense and rhythmic guitar style and for his opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. He was the festival’s first performer and as many of the other artists were held up in traffic jams on the roads approaching the festival site he had to entertain the crowd for nearly three hours and was called back again and again for encores. When he finally ran out of tunes he improvised a song based on the spiritual Motherless Child that became Freedom. The release of the Woodstock movie after this performance helped him reach a wider audience.
Born 21 January 1941- 22 April 2013
Our photographer will be covering all concerts at the 2013 season of BBC Proms. Contact us in advance for specific Proms and visit www.lebrecht.co.uk for photographs of musicians and conductors. Please see attached some sample images of this year’s key performers.
Maria Tallchief, a daughter of an Oklahoma oil family who grew up on an Indian reservation of the Osage Nation, found her way to New York and became one of the most brilliant American ballerinas of the 20th century, died on 11 April 2013 in Chicago. She was 88. She was the first American Indian to become premiere danseuse étoile in the Paris Opera, France.
Outstanding photos from Maurice Seymour, renowned American photographer of American ballets stars from the 1930s to the 1960s
Jazz trumpet player, 22 May 1930 – 7 March 2013