HECKLE THIS

Frederic Stocken once briefly formed a group of anti-modern malcontents called The Hecklers, who made headlines when they disrupted the first revival of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s opera “Gawain” at Covent Garden in 1994. Now Stocken’s considered one of Britain’s brightest young composers. “He composes modern music according to pre-modern principles. He hates the idea that artists should, by definition, be provocative and sees no reason why the fundamental laws of harmony had to be broken by 20th century composers.” – Sequenza/21

SACRED GROUND?

Frederick Ashton created his ballet “Marguerite and Armand” for Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, and wherever danced it, “people saw the love story not only of the courtesan Marguerite and the hopeful young Armand, but also (they fancied) of Margot and Rudi themselves.” The piece was so identified with the couple that when they gave their final performance of it in 1977 – when Fonteyn was 58 – it was unthinkable that anyone else could ever dance it. And now the Royal Ballet has announced a new production.  – London Telegraph

  • Nicolas Le Riche: Nureyev’s protégé, France’s best dancer and its best-kept secret, takes on “Armand” – London Sunday Times 02/27/00

AN OLD IDEA, BADLY DONE

“Modern concert halls need to be less like airport lounges, devoid of atmosphere, charm or humanity, and more like somewhere you would choose to spend an evening. No wonder people prefer concerts by candlelight in churches or at stately homes with firework displays: at least they have an interest and value to offer the eye. The truth is that audiences do not care one iota who a symphony orchestra’s oboe or cello players are, but they will pay good money to see a star soloist, a star conductor or a star singer. But just as opera has benefited from enlightened and provocative staging, a way has to be found for symphonic concert music to rediscover the live performance. – London Telegraph