Author Archives: Michael White

RADIO 4 DOCUMENTARY ON JENNIFER VYVYAN: OPENING THE BOXES, TUESDAY AUGUST 18TH, 1.30PM

When Jennifer Vyvyan died in 1974 she left behind a husband, a small son and an awful lot of stuff – which was put in boxes and stored in a loft for almost 40 years until it was re-examined and … Continue reading

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A new Dream opening at the Coliseum

A new production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens later this week at ENO, directed by Christopher Alden with a cast led by Anna Christy (who took the title role in ENO’s recent Lucia di Lammermoor) as Tytania … Continue reading

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Charles Mackerras makes a last stand at ENO

Sir Charles Mackerras didn’t have the happiest of times as ENO’s music director – in charge from 1970 to 77 – but time heals most wounds, and he was happy enough to go back and conduct there as a guest … Continue reading

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The Bavarian cultural retreat where Pears and Britten used to go – still functioning, and still extraordinary

From the 1950s through to the 1970s Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears used to visit a place called Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian alps, an hour’s fast drive from Munich; and they went there, as musicians still do, partly to … Continue reading

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Antony Hopkins at 90

Jennifer Vyvyan had a wide-ranging but actually rather specific repertoire: there were standard things she didn’t do, but non-standard ones she did all the time. And among the non-standards was a piece by Antony Hopkins (the musicologist not the actor) … Continue reading

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A bubble-wrapped vision of heaven in Hampstead Garden Opera’s new Semele

One of Jennifer Vyvyan’s most notable Handel recordings was a Semele made for L’Oiseau Lyre in 1955 at a time when the score was unknown beyond the world of scholarship. First performed in 1744, Semele vanished from performance until a … Continue reading

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Opera in Northern Ireland – struggling but back in business

If things look bad for opera in England – with Arts Council cuts, withdrawal of local authority support, and disappearing sponsors – there’s some small crumb of comfort to be got by looking over the water to Ireland where things … Continue reading

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ENO’s Return of Ulysses – along with the return of several singers

It’s always good to find a show full of singers you’ve known and admired over the years but haven’t seen (or maybe noticed) for a while. And such a show, for me, is Monteverdi’s Return of Ulysses currently playing in … Continue reading

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Peter Brook – in London for perhaps the last time

Back in 1953 a still-young stage director made a film of The Beggar’s Opera with an extraordinary cast that ranged from Laurence Olivier to Kenneth Williams. Most of them were dubbed for the singing sections. And among the unseen singers … Continue reading

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Anna Nicole (the opera) hits your TV screens this Friday

If you didn’t make it to Mark Anthony Turnage’s new opera Anna Nicole at Covent Garden the other week – and for such a scandalous piece there were scandalously few performances – there’s a TV broadcast you might want to … Continue reading

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