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Audra McDonald – Leicester Square Theatre, London

Performers: Audra McDonald, Seth Rudetsky, Will Swenson Reviewer: Scott Matthewman If your knowledge of Audra McDonald is limited to her role as the opera singer-cum-wardrobe, Madame de Garderobe, in Disney’s recent live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, you have so much more to learn. McDonald has won six Tony Awards – more than any other actor – and is ...

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The English Concert: Messiah – Bristol Old Vic

Music/Lyrics: Handel Director: Tom Morris Director: Tom Morris Conductor: Harry Bicket Reviewer: E. Whitcroft  It was a night framed by history: the gold fixtures of the oldest working theatre in Britain encircling the performance of a semi-staged Handel’s Messiah. Before Tom Morris’ decision to dramatise Handel’s oratorio for the Bristol Proms in 2013, the Messiah had not been performed at ...

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Orchestra of Opera North: Sibelius, Bruch and Strauss – Town Hall, Leeds

Conductor: Adrian Leaper Soloist: Jack Liebeck (violin) Reviewer: Ron Simpson The final concert of the Orchestra of Opera North’s Kirklees season was repeated at Leeds Town Hall as part of the Leeds International Orchestral Season. Three major pieces, all composed in the half century from 1880, explored in different ways the life and landscapes of the remoter and more rugged ...

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Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali – Birmingham Town Hall

Reviewer:  Dave Smith Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional singing (Sufism itself represents mysticism within Islam) popular in parts of Northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh that was mainly popularised among Western audiences by the great Nusret Fateh Ali Khan, who, as well as performing at Womad, also recorded for Peter Gabriel's Real World record label. Qawwali singing is generally ...

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Celebrating Sinatra – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Anthony Gabriele Reviewer:  Selwyn Knight It’s just over 100 years since Francis Albert Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. His career had its ups and downs, taking in periods as a teen idol, film actor and academy award winner and elder statesman of music. Although he never learned to read music, his innate musicality made him the supreme interpreter ...

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Christopher Purves and Simon Lepper – Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Reviewer: Ron Simpson Opera North’s programme for the Howard Assembly Room is always impressively varied, with jazz, world music and film extensively represented, but this recital took them nearer to home base. Christopher Purves’ most recent appearance with Opera North was as Gianni Schicchi as recently as two years ago. The programme was cleverly planned, four contrasted sets of songs ...

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Camille O’Sullivan: The Carny Dream – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Katherine Kirwin amid a stage of fairy lights, a lit-up paper gingerbread house, a glowing paper bunny, and dressed mannequins topped with animal masks, enters a chilled-out male trio on keys, drums and bass before the dramatic entrance of Camille O’Sullivan in a sequined red-cape. This is not a fairytale, this is not real life, this is the nether ...

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Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewer:  Selwyn Knight Formed nearly 50 years ago by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, Yes is known for its extravagant performances, elliptic lyrics and convoluted music. And, of course, the many changes in line-ups as members came and went over the years. Anderson, together with long-standing ex-band members Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin, formed ARW and they are now touring, ...

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