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Instrument: Librettist

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Saffron WaldenBBC Symphony Orchestra & Alexander McCall Smith

BBC Symphony Orchestra & Alexander McCall Smith
BBC Symphony Orchestra; Alexander McCall Smith
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Obsession, isolation and terror at the Royal College of Music

Richard Pinkstone (Sandy), James Atkinson (Blazes) and Timothy Edlin (Arthur), different cast © Chris Christodoulou
Two contemporary operas give us darkness and death in riveting, inexorable performances. 
****1
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To the field of blood: The Judas Passion

Brenden Gunnell and Roderick Williams © Belinda Lawley
Suffering, forgiveness, and natural brass in a brand new dramatic oratorio
****1
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Glossing over The Balkans: The Life and Death of Marina Abramović

Ivan Talijančić reviews Robert Wilson's production of The Life and Death of Marina Abramović at New York's Park Avenue Armory
***11
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Samuel Adamson's Gabriel: London in the 1690s with Alison Balsom and The English Concert

Shakespeare’s Globe is currently hosting playwright Samuel Adamson’s Gabriel, described as “an entertainment with trumpet”. Alison Balsom, the internationally recognised trumpeter and creative producer of this show, presented musical extracts from Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, King Arthur and Dioclesian, along with many other odes and songs by Purcell and other Baroque composers.
***11
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The Magic Flute gets metatheatrical with the Merry Opera Company

Mozart’s original The Magic Flute is bizarre enough. The story of a prince and a bird-catcher’s journey to save a princess they’ve never met from a sinister quasi-Freemason who turns out to be alright, it is sufficiently packed full of great songs and good humour to have become an enduring repertory favourite – but that doesn’t mean it makes any sense. It doesn’t, really.
**111
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This is all: Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at the Norwegian National Opera

Britten’s opera The Rape of Lucretia is, as the title implies, not an easy opera subject-wise. It is based on André Obey’s play Le viol de Lucrèce, which in turn is partially based on Shakespeare’s poem The Rape of Lucrece. This was Britten’s third opera, and the first of his so-called chamber operas, operas with small orchestras and small casts.
*****
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Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at Hampstead Garden Opera

There’s something pretty special about going to see one of the very first operas ever written. It’s particularly special if you love the rhythms of renaissance dance music, the harmonies of polyphonic choral music and if, as I am, you are an admirer of Claudio Monteverdi’s vocal writing: it’s quite plausible to argue that he remains unmatched in his ability to spin a beautiful vocal thread
****1
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