Diary: The summer’s musical promise, the withering of the BBC, and universities after Brexit

05.14.17
Shai Wosner
New Statesman

Right now, London is awash with gorgeous music. Amid the election and Brexit verbosity, how welcoming it is to relax in the harmonies of golden sounds. Recent treats include Thomas Adès’s new opera, The Exterminating Angel, at the Royal Opera House – an intense score of dazzling virtuosity, sung by the world’s finest.

When I first went to this venue in the late Fifties to hear Maria Callas and Jon Vickers, I sat on wooden benches in the gods; the toffs sat in the stalls in posh clothes. All of that has changed. Now, not only can I afford to sit in the stalls, but the tone is one of informality: perhaps not jeans, but open shirts and an easy style.

On Friday, I was at Kings Place near King’s Cross, where the Aurora Orchestra gave a concert of incongruous music-making – Mozart, Ligeti, Glass, Nancarrow and Hindemith – with the pianist Shai Wosner as its star. What a mix, owing much to the eclectic taste of the wizard behind Kings Place, Peter Millican, an entrepreneur who long ago spotted the potential of the then derelict King’s Cross hinterland and has been a great mover in turning it into one of London’s premier cultural hubs. All this, plus continuing riches at the Barbican, Wigmore Hall, The Magic Flute at the King’s Head Theatre . . . On it goes.
 
Read the rest of the review here