New LPO website

October 3, 2013

LPO website - homepageThe new London Philharmonic Orchestra website is now online at www.lpo.org.uk

We hope you like the new design and content.   We’ve built it so that it works on mobile phones, touch screen tablets, laptops and full screen computers.

Some of the new features include:

Choose your own seat when booking for our concerts at Royal Festival Hall.

Bite-sized video introductions to our Royal Festival Hall concerts.

Share content you like via Twitter and Facebook

Add concerts directly to your online calendar after purchase.

In future, we’ll be posting news and reviews on the blog pages within the website – please note that this blog will no longer be updated.

You can subscribe to our news, reviews and podcast feeds by clicking the links below:

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Or you can join one of our email lists from www.lpo.org.uk

Huge thanks to the team at our web agency, Alienation Digital, for creating our new site.


In Memory of John Cobb, LPO Personnel Manager 1970-1996

August 29, 2013

It was with deep sadness that we recently received news of John Cobb’s passing. John worked with the Orchestra for over 30 years and was a highly respected and well-loved member of the team. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this sad time.

After a long battle against cancer John died on Thursday 22 August. He was the product of a Salvation Army musical family where he started playing the trombone at an early age. As an 18-year-old he joined the RAF Central band and became a well-known soloist on the concert bandstand and radio. He was also a member of the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army in his leisure time.

He won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music and in 1956 joined the Orchestra of The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. As sometimes happens with brass players he developed an embouchure problem and in the mid 1960’s moved into orchestral personnel management.

After short periods with the LSO (Assistant Manager) and the English National Opera – he moved to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1968.

In 1970 he returned to London and became the Orchestral Personnel Manager for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He then spent a long spell of more than 25 years in this role which he described as the happiest days of his working life. In 1996 he formally retired but continued his close connection with his friends at the LPO through involvement with the Youth Orchestra and as an occasional stand in for his successor in the main role.

John was a real people person. Those he met never forgot the experience. He had a unique way of making you feel that what you were doing was the most important thing to him at that moment. Many people both in the music business and outside it will remember him with both fondness, and sadness, on his death.

-       Eddie Ashton

‘I have such good memories of our working together in the old LPO days.  I never had a better personnel manager before or since in all the orchestras I worked with.  You kept them all in line … with a kind word and a smile, and they all liked you and respected you.  And as for me, you calmed me down and cheered me up very often with a quiet word and a joke.  But you were utterly professional at the same time.’ – Extract from a letter to John, from conductor Bernard Haitink


New LPO Label CD release: Bernard Haitink conducts Vaughan Williams

August 26, 2013

Haitink Vaughan Williams CD coverVaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 & Symphony No. 7 (Sinfonia antartica)

Bernard Haitink – conductor
Sheila Armstrong – soprano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Ladies of the London Philharmonic Choir

Recorded by BBC Radio 3 at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London:
Symphony No. 5 recorded 15 December 1994; Symphony No. 7 recorded 27 November 1984

£10.99 (2 Audio CDs)
LPO–0072

Read more, listen to soundclips and buy now

Although Vaughan Williams’s Fifth Symphony was largely composed during the Second World War, it includes some of his most tranquil music, its pastoral serenity set vividly against the backdrop of war-torn Europe. The Seventh Symphony, Sinfonia antartica, began life as Vaughan Williams’s score for the film Scott of the Antarctic, whose themes of human endeavour, stoicism and courage hugely moved and inspired the composer. Scott and his men might have perished, but their spirit lives on in Vaughan Williams’s original and atmospheric music.

Reviews of the concert performances:

‘Haitink was on scintillating form throughout. The LPO matched his commitment every bar of the way.’
Martin Kettle, The Guardian, 17 December 1994

‘This performance captured the music’s atmosphere in the poignant shaping of lyrical lines and in the acute observance of orchestral balance and detail. Thoughtful, reflective and marked by a feeling of deep understanding.’
Geoffrey Norris, Daily Telegraph, 21 December 1994

                                                                                                         

All LPO Label recordings available from www.lpo.org.uk/shop, the London Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office (020 7840 4242), all good CD outlets, and the Royal Festival Hall shop. Also available to download or stream online via iTunes, Spotify and others.

Sign up for LPO Label updates: www.lpo.org.uk/shop


Reviews: Britten’s ‘Billy Budd’ at Glyndebourne with London Philharmonic Orchestra

August 12, 2013

The London Philharmonic Orchestra continues its annual residency at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, where it has appeared every summer for 50 years. Saturday 10 August saw the first performance this summer of Britten’s Billy Budd – a revival of the 2010 Festival production. It is directed by Michael Grandage, and Andrew Davis conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Full cast and production credits

Here are the reviews from Saturday’s opening performance:

‘The score itself represents the surging, foaming sea, and with Andrew Davis at the helm the strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion discharge that function consummately.’ (5 stars)
Michael Church, The Independent

‘With Andrew Davis conducting an incandescent London Philharmonic Orchestra … this is Glyndebourne at its matchless best.’ (5 stars)
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

‘Glyndebourne’s chorus is on unbeatable form, and the London Philharmonic conveys the sweep of the score under conductor Andrew Davis’ (5 stars)
George Hall, The Guardian

‘This is the final production of Vladimir Jurowski’s last season as Glyndebourne’s Music Director; no better tribute could be imagined.’ (5 stars)
Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOMH.com

‘I have to say that I have never heard this opera performed better and a large part of the reason for this is down to Andrew Davis’ handling of the LPO. The orchestral entries were razor sharp and the music was articulated with real precision. The balance was spot-on and the orchestral textures remained light and transparent.’
Robert Beattie, Seen and Heard International

‘A perfect piece of musical storytelling. It should be mandatory viewing for lovers and haters of opera alike.’
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

‘The London Philharmonic Orchestra gave an exemplary demonstration of how every different combination can be weighted to bring out the composer’s intent, with virtuosic playing in the solo passages and elemental force in the tutti. To achieve such a level of detail, conductor Andrew Davis must have put in a gigantic level of preparation with his orchestra.’ (5 stars)
David Karlin, Bachtrack

‘Andrew Davis conducts with white hot intensity and the LPO responds with playing that is quite simply incandescent from start to finish.’ (5 stars)
What’s On Stage

‘From quiet prayer to battle-ready bombast, the superb chorus wield a rare emotional power, while the score’s lushest and most redemptive chords hover questioningly on a breathtaking split-second delay from Andrew Davies’ down beat.’
Eleanor Knight, The Argus

‘It was inspiring to hear the London Philharmonic Orchestra respond with such verve and virtuosity to Andrew Davis, and to admire the conductor’s attention to the music’s coloration. He located every emotional nuance within the opera’s psychology so that even passages of apparent repose, such as Billy’s heart-stopping lament in the Darbies before he is hanged, prickled with nascent horror.’
Mark Valencia, Classical Source

‘This stunningly powerful production must surely be a high point of this year’s Britten centenary celebrations.’
Edward Bhesania, The Stage

‘A celebratory production’
The Economist

‘The London Philharmonic Orchestra were on strong form, giving us some thrilling playing and some fine subtle moments. Britten uses a big orchestra, and the big moments are loud but here were never less than expressive. Confidently in charge was Andrew Davis, giving a fine and thoughtful account of the score.’
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill (blog)

‘The  big set-pieces were thrillingly immediate, conductor Andrew Davis pulling the score up from great groundswells of string basses and giving it mobility through brilliantly articulate woodwinds and trumpets. The London Philharmonic Orchestra again proved what an asset they are to Glyndebourne and how exciting they sound in this perfect house where the balance between pit and stage is never an issue.’
Edward Seckerson (blog)

‘Musical values are very high indeed. Andrew Davis must be thanked in large part for allowing stage and score to blend with such choreographic and psychological precision – with conducting like this, suspension of disbelief is almost not required, so transported are you by the events that are unfolding. Singers are always fully audible and ideally supported by the superb playing of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and orchestral textures, whether glowering or shimmering, unfailingly make a dramatic as well as musical impact.’
Capriccio (blog)

‘Conductor Andrew Davis produced wonderful deep growls from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and for me this production is the highlight of the 2013 Glyndebourne season. Utterly unmissable.’
Mark Ronan (blog)

                                                                                      

Until the end of this year’s Festival on 25 August, the Orchestra will give six more performances of Billy Budd, interspersed with performances of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with Enrique Mazzola (a revival of the 2011 Tour production). Visit the Glyndebourne website for more details.

If you can’t make it to Glyndebourne this summer, how about the semi-staged performance of Billy Budd with the same cast and orchestra at the BBC Proms on Tuesday 27 August? Tickets are still available – more information on the Proms website.

Billy Budd (recorded live in 2010) will be broadcast in cinemas across the UK and online from 19 August 2013 – venues and booking details on the ‘In Cinemas’ tab here.


New LPO Label CD release: Bruckner Symphony No. 7

July 26, 2013

Bruckner 7 CD cover

Stanisław Skrowaczewski conducts
Bruckner Symphony No. 7

Recorded live in concert at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London, on 24 October 2012.

LPO-0071
£9.99
Read more, listen to soundclips (inc. the whole 3rd movement) and buy now

‘A very special issue. Don’t hesitate to buy or download it.’
David Mellor, Classic FM, July 2013

‘To me, Bruckner is one of the greatest composers,’ says conductor Stanisław Skrowaczewski. ‘He is another Mozart: his music is magical … its message speaks about the infinite, transcendental cosmos, God, timelessness, love and tragedy.’ The opening melody of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony apparently came to the composer in a dream: a friend from Bruckner’s younger days played the theme on a viola, with the words: ‘This will bring you success.’ If this is true it was prophetic: the work was one of the greatest successes of the composer’s career.

                                                                                                         

All LPO Label recordings available from www.lpo.org.uk/shop, the London Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office (020 7840 4242, Monday–Friday 10am–5pm), all good CD outlets, and the Royal Festival Hall shop.

Downloads available from iTunes, Amazon, eMusic and classicsonline.com.
Sign up for LPO Label updates: www.lpo.org.uk/shop


Reviews: ‘Don Pasquale’ at Glyndebourne with London Philharmonic Orchestra

July 22, 2013

The London Philharmonic Orchestra continues its annual summer residency at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, where it has been resident since 1964. Last Thursday saw the first performance this summer of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale – a revival of the 2011 Tour production conducted by Enrique Mazzola. See the full cast and production credits here.

Here’s what the press have been saying about the Orchestra’s performances …

‘A strong cast is conducted with élan by Enrique Mazzola.’
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

‘Enrique Mazzola’s taut conducting casts a beneficent spell over the entire evening.’
Andrew Clark, Financial Times

‘Enrique Mazzola, conducting a poised, energetic London Philharmonic, keeps the score on the boil.’
Erica Jeal, The Guardian

‘An opera in which the music is superior to, and always threatening to topple, the commedia dell’arte plot.’
Kate Kellaway, The Observer

‘Musically, the evening is no less accomplished, with Enrique Mazzola achieving a beautifully radiant sound as the London Philharmonic Orchestra sweeps through the score while maintaining crystal clarity.’ (5 stars)
Sam Smith, MusicOMH

‘Enrique Mazzola opened a superb evening with a spirited account of the Overture, the London Philharmonic Orchestra producing taut playing that ticked along the curtain-raiser’s merry and jovial way, with a just tinge of pathos and encapsulating the whole performance’
Kevin Rogers, Classical Source

‘…adorable bel canto tunefulness and exquisite orchestration, delivered here with incomparable style by the LPO under Enrique Mazzola’
Stephen Walsh, The Arts Desk

‘Conductor Enrique Mazzola bounces the score along. The overall result is Glyndebourne at its best.’
George Hall, The Stage

‘Enrique Mazzola conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a proper Italian panache’
Louise Schweitzer, The Argus

‘The London Philharmonic Orchestra under the sensitive baton of conductor Enrique Mazzola gave an outstanding, superb performance of Donizetti’s beautiful, elegant music. Mazzola understands the score exceptionally well and truly honoured the composer, enhancing the delicacy and classicism of the music’
Margarida Mota-Bull, Seen and Heard International

‘There’s sensationally sparky conducting from Enrique Mazzola too. Glyndebourne’s on a roll.’
Warwick Thompson, Bloomberg

‘Wonderfully stylish conducting from Enrique Mazzola who had the London Philharmonic Orchestra illuminating many such Donizetti touches – like the flute and cello combo so striking from the Overture.’
Edward Seckserson (blog)

‘The London Philharmonic Orchestra sounded absolutely glorious under Enrique Mazzola, deliciously plush, whilst remaining light and rhythmically bouyant – streaks ahead of the ROH’s recent bel canto efforts in this regard. It’s rare that one can comment so positively on the orchestra in a bel canto opera, but I thought they were exceptional throughout. Cello, trumpet and horn solos were all gorgeously delivered, but this was a marvellous ensemble effort.’
Capriccio (blog)

‘Mazzola got some finely brilliant playing from the orchestra’
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill (blog)

Neil Fisher, The Times (paid subscribers only)

                                                                                                             

Don Pasquale will be broadcast live in cinemas across the UK and online on Tuesday 6 August – venues and booking details on the ‘In Cinemas’ tab here.

Between now and the end of August, the Orchestra will also give performances of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos with Vladimir Jurowski, and Britten’s Billy Budd with Sir Andrew Davis. Visit the Glyndebourne website for more details.


Danielle de Niese perfects her comic timing at Glyndebourne in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale

July 19, 2013

Danielle de Niese, the soprano taking the opera world by storm, chatted to us as she made her preparations for Glyndebourne Festival’s production of Donezetti’s comic opera Don Pasquale. Here the young soprano tells us what it’s been like performing as ‘Norina’, her love of comedy and how she continues to explore Donezetti’s music.

Danielle _de_Niese 2 c DECCA-Photo by Chris Dunlop

Following your acclaimed debut as ‘Adina’ in the 2011 Festival production of L’elisir d’amore, you have returned to Glyndebourne to explore more of Donizetti’s comedic approach to opera – what do you think keeps drawing you back to these roles?

I think these roles are perfect for my growing voice at this stage of my development. Bel Canto singing is very difficult and very exposed so these two roles are a starting point for me in this style, they are perfectly suited to my voice whereas the more serious Donizetti operas are a few more years away in my vocal development. They are beautifully written and very challenging to sing which is exactly why I waited until now to explore this style, I needed my voice to be the right size. I love comedy and I love Italian repertoire so this is a perfect fit for me.

Don Pasquale is a complex plot with detailed twists and turns keeping the audience on their toes, the comedy is second to none and shines through in the staging. Are the cast having as much fun staging the production as the audience are watching?

I can tell you with certainty that the answer is a resounding YES! Also, we are a cast of five principals so the action and plot is played out very intricately but very intimately. It’s like a Monty Python sketch – all about the intimacy of the troupe and the perfect comedic timing!

The Don Pasquale cast is a diverse and celebrated team, can you tell us a little bit about how the cast and creative team have collaborated on this production?

We have been given a chance to really explore the story and create new twists and turns with Mariame Clement, our wonderful director who is smart, intelligent, funny and flexible. My great pleasure has been working with Alessandro Corbelli who is a genius of Italian comedy and Italian style. It’s also a second collaboration with the wonderful Maestro Enrique Mazzola (after creating L’Elisir together). Enrique and I have a wonderful relationship and you can see the joy of music that we share, in the result of our work together. I adore making music with him.

Your recording career sits happily alongside your operatic roles, how do you find time to fit that in around your charity work supporting young people?

I am not sure how I do it exactly – well, actually I think it is about making time for the people and the things you love. I love my family, I love music, I love sharing music with as many people as possible through my recordings, I love giving back and reaching out to new audiences and young audiences to share my love of music, so I will always find a way to make time for these things that are so important to me, that make my life worth living.

Singing in Italian is second nature to most sopranos and preferable to many other European languages, do you have any tips of the trade in terms of overcoming language barriers when it comes to learning new operatic roles?

My advice is to learn the language. I think that with certain core languages of our repertoire (Italian, French, German), you can tell when a performer doesn’t know the melody of a language and the very innate nuances of a language, so it really pays to spend a couple of months studying at a school in the country and absorbing the language completely. This is what I did with Italian, French and German as I wanted to be able to speak three languages before I turned 21. It has really made the difference in my ability to communicate the nuance of a language.

Don Pasquale is known for its wit and humour but the opera is also known to have a darker, more complex side in its deception and conceit. Is it challenging to play the humour and the darker side in one role?

It’s not challenging to play the humour and the darker side of this piece because it’s all there in the music and the text. Even the guilt Norina feels when she goes too far in her impersonation of Sofronia by slapping Pasquale (provoked I might add!), is shown in the writing of Donizetti. This is the magic of Donizetti – everything is there in the score, the key is to make it live and breathe within you. In this particular production there is an added twist in the story with the relationship between Malatesta and Norina being explored even further. This presents its challenges but it has also made it really interesting and exciting too!

The Glyndebourne Chorus have a significant role to play in this opera and many of the Glyndebourne chorus have been cited as names to watch. As Glyndebourne is renowned for supporting aspiring singers through the chorus and on to principal roles are you able to support and mentor singers through the rehearsal process?

I am a young singer too, so I fear it may be too soon to be mentoring singers so close to my own age but, when asked, I am happy to impart advice on my experiences in my career thus far and always enjoy working with the wonderful talented members of the Glyndebourne Ensemble.

Don Pasquale will be performed at the Glyndebourne Festival  from 18 July – 24 August. To book tickets and find out more about the Glyndebourne Festival 2013 visit the Glyndebourne website. For more information on the LPO’s 50 year Glyndebourne residency, visit our website.

Photograph: Chris Dunlop


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