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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Still going strong at 70: the RPO celebrates in style


Who would you want to put in the grand pantheon of British music? Composers? Unquestionably. Soloists? Undoubtedly. And then there’s a certain Sir Thomas Beecham, whose contribution to British musical life is unparalleled. He founded two of London’s great orchestras as well as having a lustful eye on a third. Not the least of his attributes was a roguish charm that gave voice to a plethora of anecdotes and bon mots which continue to delight us today.

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Prom 25: Dvořák and Bartók


Charles Dutoit was a wizard, conjuring up all the darksome effects of Bartók's Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

Singular in every sense, standing out from the rest of the operatic literature and as Bartók’s only work for the lyric stage, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle is perhaps the opera most suited of all to presentation in the Royal Albert Hall. The work’s stage directions stipulate “an enormous round gothic hall”, there is almost no action and the orchestra plays as strong a role as the two protagonists. way.

Prom 25: RPO/Dutoit at the Royal Albert Hall


If there was a theme to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert with the veteran conductor Charles Dutoit it was not a happy one. Here was Bartók, a collector of folk songs red and raw, with an opera as black as night and a fairytale without a fairytale ending. Here was Dvorák, a faithful husband and father of nine, remembering his late first love in music as soft and clear as sunlight through leaves. What do his Cello Concerto and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle have in common? Three words: leave me alone.

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