Performance

Performance

Careless tweets cost raves

Careless tweets cost raves

Allow me to time travel to a field in Bedfordshire, around a decade ago. It is busy with arrivals. Like everyone I have come to this strangely pastoral yet ear-numbingly urban event via a text message, sent just after midnight. Someone tells us we’re heading for National Trust land. We [...]

by × October 29, 2013 × 0 comments

Performance

In praise of the adrenaline rush

In praise of the adrenaline rush

When I stopped playing the piano, the first thing I noticed was that the world was flat. I was 22 and had to decide whether to try to make a career of my piano playing, or be sensible and look for a ‘proper job’. I applied for some of the [...]

by × June 4, 2013 × 0 comments

Performance

A classical girl at The Knife

A classical girl at The Knife

What is a classical music critic doing at The Knife? We’re not supposed to frequent the coolest gigs in town. We’re supposed to sit in the capital’s concert halls, tut-tutting if a pianist is too glitzy, shaking our heads if a new opera is too wordy. We’re certainly not meant [...]

by × May 14, 2013 × 0 comments

Performance

Your five-point Wagner plan

Your five-point Wagner plan

Getting into opera is one thing. But Wagner? That’s another matter altogether. So I’ve put together a five-point plan… 1. Clear your mind. Forget everything you know, or think you might or should know, about opera on the one hand and the extra-musical associations of Wagner on the other. Yes, [...]

by × April 9, 2013 × 0 comments

Performance

How to get into opera in under six minutes

How to get into opera in under six minutes

Now and then a friend or colleague says to me: ‘I’d like to get into opera, but I don’t know how.’ There are certain things that opera can do that no other art form has managed to the same degree over about four centuries. That’s a long time. How do [...]

by × March 21, 2013 × 0 comments

Performance

All the benefits of hindsight

All the benefits of hindsight

Sometimes we can’t see what is in front of our own noses. We need to step back and take in the bigger picture before whatever-it-is can make sense. And so the gigantic year-long festival The Rest is Noise at London’s Southbank Centre has launched at just the right time. It [...]

by × January 28, 2013 × 0 comments

Performance

Happy Birthday to The Roundhouse

Happy Birthday to The Roundhouse

I suspect that, like many Londoners, I cope with the scale of my city by imagining its urban geography as series of interconnected villages. Where others see part of an impersonal alien metropolis,I see my local village with its familiar landmarks and comforting streets. My London village is Camden and [...]

by × June 1, 2011 × 0 comments

Performance

Working with Pinter

Working with Pinter

Last week the Oxford Literary Festival screened BBC Arena’s recording of the National Theatre Tribute to Harold Pinter. Towards the end of the film Colin Firth gives Aston’s speech from The Caretaker. Hunkered down in a centre-stage armchair, Aston recalls being forcibly electrocuted by doctors in a mental institution. His speech [...]

by × May 1, 2011 × 0 comments

Performance

Happy Birthday Billy Elliot

Happy Birthday Billy Elliot

It’s strange to be contemplating the 5th Anniversary of ‘Billy Elliot: The Musical’ at the same time as productions are about to open in Chicago and Korea. Seeing the Koreanboys on Youtube singing my songs in Korean was a truly surreal experience. In theatre you don’t expect things to last; [...]

by × March 31, 2010 × 0 comments

Performance

The Little Waster

The Little Waster

When I was fifteen and wearing one of my father’s old shirts back to front in one of those secondary school Art lessons that facilitate conversation more than they facilitate artistic endeavour, I was in the middle of a monologue, on some subject of infinite interest to me and none to [...]

by × March 15, 2010 × 0 comments