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Igor Levit - Beethoven, 28 September 2016 - Wigmore Hall Piano Sonata no.1 in F minor, op.2 no.1 Piano Sonata no.12 in A-flat major, op.26 Piano Sonata no.25 in G major, op.79 Piano Sonata no.21 in...
15 hours ago
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"In the evening Die Zauberflote - appalling. Not a singer of talent, a stupid conductor and the stamp of vulgarity on everything - here it is the opulent broker who sets the tone. When R talks to people about this they say the audience is such an such. "Don't talk to me about audiences" R replies "That is a world one does not criticise, but accepts just as it is; the fault lies entirely with the artists - they can seize an audience purely for the entertainment and raise it up. An audience does at least show a lively interest in everything; if a few people turn head over heels, it does at any rate laugh, which means it is better than these pygmies of conductors and producers, who don't know that when the Queen of the Night appears, it must be night on the stage - one must put out the lights. Just as in the church - when things are done properly, as they seldom are - a soul finds refuge from the petty pressures of its own miseries, so in the theatre the audience is raised up by the means of its desire to enjoy itself." Sunday December 1 1872
"Yet in some respects this audience gets what it deserves. They (we) are a strikingly complicit bunch of fatcats. They watch themselves and their prosperity being viciously satirised; they witness every value they hold dear being perverted; they hear some of their finest masterpieces being used as a vehicle for guilt-ridden dissociation from their past and their present: and they cheer."
"The denial of sensual charm is in fact a recurrent phenomenon of these stagings. Wherever the drama requires beauty or splendour, ugliness and degradation are the predictable response: Venus (in Tannhäuser) as a fat, pregnant housewife in silver lamé, her naiads as hairy Neanderthals with bare bottoms"
"As for the solo castings, one is mildly conscious that this is not where the (heavily subsidised) big money is being spent....A number of singers struggled to cope with the huge stage and auditorium, even with the orchestra canopied, which, for top Wagnerians, has usually solved the problem of balance. In many opera houses, some of these voices would scarcely be heard at all"
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