Music more than words: Britten and Tippett at the Aldeburgh Festival

Although I had undoubtedly come to Snape that evening solely in order to hear Ian Bostridge sing Britten and Tippett, I left feeling the most astonished, and exhilarated, by Britten’s extraordinary String Quartet no. 1, played with blistering skill and forensic intensity by the Arcadia Quartet. Britten’s String Quartet no. 1 had a tremulous, magical opening into which…

Season preview for Culture Whisper: Glyndebourne 2016

Melly Still’s magical production of Janáček‘s The Cunning Little Vixen (revival, 2012) is back, the only opera I know to have been born from a comic strip. Still’s vision balances a fine naturalistic sense with elements of Eastern European folktale and cartoon to deliver a world of animals bursting with colour, while humans exist in monochrome…

A very wicked village: Britten’s Albert Herring

“Scorn the sweetmeats of temptation!”, warns Lady Billows, as the village of Loxford gathers to crown its May King – a King, because so many village maidens have failed to resist those sinful sweetmeats that a Queen simply cannot be crowned this year. But Albert Herring, who lives with his mother, works in her shop…