Callum Smart makes stunning debut with the RPO


No hangovers yesterday in Cheltenham, the night after the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's gala concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Sixty players asserted themselves in Beethoven's overture to Fidelio under the strict, determined direction of conductor Matthew Halls, making his RPO debut.

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From Tigress-like attack to elusive poetry


There were two major causes for celebration in this Royal Philharmonic Orchestra gala at the Royal Albert Hall. Marking the anniversary of its first concert in Croydon 70 years ago this month, the RPO was back where it made its London debut (in October 1946) under Thomas Beecham. Despite having endured a sometimes chequered history in our orchestrally crowded capital, the RPO’s survival instincts are strong and it was good to see it drawing a capacity crowd – helped no doubt by three Big Names on the programme.

Concert: RPO/ Dutoit at the Albert Hall


The pianist Martha Argerich never stopped teasing the music, phrasing with a litheness and curiosity that quickly cast a spell over the audience

What’s the secret to ageing well? The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, marking its 70th anniversary, had its birthday bash at the Albert Hall and invited a trio who should have some answers. There was its artistic director, Charles Dutoit, who turns 80 next month (but was sporting an impressive trail of ink-black hair); the elusive Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, 75; and the violinist Pinchas Zukerman, the spring chicken of the bunch at 68.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 70th-Anniversary Gala Concert


It seemed like a Proms Extra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Dutoit, Martha Argerich – all had featured in the Royal Albert Hall this summer, as had the Bruch and The Firebird.

This concert was celebrating RPO 70, to which add Dutoit 80 (his birthday being on October 7) and, for that matter, an additional milestone is also cued, the Seventieth of the BBC Third Programme/Radio 3.

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