Charles Dutoit discusses Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

Sinister, enigmatic, and yet so simple: such is the story of Béla Bartók’s one-act 1911 opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. A young woman enters her new husband’s home – a huge dark castle with seven locked doors. Despite her husband’s protestations, she insists that all the doors be opened, at first to allow light into the gloomy interior, and then out of insatiable curiosity. What awaits her is a series of gruesome, disturbing, perplexing sights – among them a blood-stained torture chamber and a lake of tears.

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A concert of two halves: the RPO plays German Romantic classics

BACHTRACK

Thursday night’s concert, from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, sought to draw similarities and accentuate differences between three pillars of German Romanticism: Wagner, Richard Strauss and Brahms. Whilst both Wagner and Brahms saw themselves as successors to Beethoven, they composed strikingly different music. Brahms displays far more reverence for the past, particularly when it comes to structural and rhythmic devices, yet as Schoenberg famously pointed out in his 1933 essay Brahms the Progressive, Brahms’ music is far from conservative.

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An Interview with Eduardo Portal

Following his performance with the RPO and Natasha Paremski last month at the Royal Albert Hall (The Great Classics), conductor Eduardo Portal talks to Hannah Nepil about what it takes to be a professional conductor.

Who can resist the whiff of danger? For Eduardo Portal, it’s exactly what makes his job so thrilling. ‘Conducting is high risk,’ he says. ‘Only yesterday, when I was conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, I felt that the concert was entirely in my hands because the players were reacting so accurately to my slightest gesture. So I felt that if I performed well, then the concert would be a success. But if I made a mess of it – well…’ He trails off.

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RPO, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Zukerman, Royal Festival Hall

THE ARTS DESK

This concert was part of a tour of Canada’s National Arts Centre orchestra to five cities in the UK themed around the anniversary of the start of World War One. The Ottawa-based orchestra joined forces with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Choir for this London centrepiece to the tour, under the baton of violinist-turned-conductor Pinchas Zukerman. Splicing two orchestras together with necessarily minimal rehearsal time may not make perfect musical sense but, as artistic director of the NCA orchestra and principal guest conductor of the RPO, Zukerman is uniquely placed to make it work.

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Latest News

  • Tuesday 18 June 2019
    Welcome to Principal Bass Trombonist Josh Cirtina
  • Tuesday 4 June 2019
    Tom Coult talks Codex and Composing
  • Wednesday 29 May 2019
    Meet Kian Soltani: RPO Artist in Residence 2019

Latest Press

  • Monday 13 May 2019
    An Interview with Chloé van Soeterstède
  • Monday 1 April 2019
    Francesca Dego "performing with the RPO? It's like driving a Ferrari"
  • Wednesday 23 January 2019
    Strokestra Features in The Washington Post