I had booked to see two contrasting concerts today.
I was at the Wigmore Hall this morning to see the Gould Piano Trio perform
Beethoven - Piano Trio in Eb Op 1 No 1
Smetana - Piano Trio in G Minor Op 15
The Beethoven is an early work, although not curiously his first given the Opus 1 designation. It's pleasant, sounding a little Mozartian/Haydn. I do wonder if it wasn't written by Ludwig whether it would command its place in the repertoire? Whereas of course top notch Beethoven is sublime I wonder if more space could be found for other composers of the time who have been a little bit neglected (Hummel perhaps who the Gould are recording?). Still the Gould are a top notch trio and they made it "sing". And that I guess is what makes a good artist that they can elevate the good to something a bit more. And they had to deal with a crying very young child.....
The Smetana is very different and they displayed real attack and made it seem that there were more than three people on the stage.
I have to say a piano trio is a nice compliment of instruments.
My afternoon was spent at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden to see Georges Bizet's Carmen.
Now I had been a little disappointed at two of the last three Opera's I had seen (not at Covent Garden I might add). And I was not to be disappointed.
Not here some radical re-imagining but set in period in Southern Spain. The sets were simple but they still managed to convey great atmosphere. Anita Rachvelishvili was superb as Carmen getting the right mix of sexiness I thought and hence you can understand why Alagna's Don Jose is in lust. Yes Michaela (Veronica Cangemi does it well) is a nice girl who your mum wants you too marry but Carmen is the girl who is going to show you a good time. Don Jose to me doesn't really get a chance to shine until the end and Alagna does that well you can feel that Carmen has broken his heart.
What really makes Carmen is it has some amazing tunes and of course we are all suckers for a good tune.... perhaps my only criticism was the overture. Not that it wasn't well played but I really wanted it to have a bit more welly (where was the volume control??).
Oh and the Donkey did well as did the Horse. Earned their carrots!
Of course I am a novice and so my comments and views can be taken with a pinch of salt still it was enjoyable and made me want to come back and that can't be a bad thing.