This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Friday, March 6, 2015 Follow us on Twitter @Argus_The Guide In The Spotlight

WHETHER the exact quote was correct or not is fairly im- material – why let the truth get in the way of a good story? – but the national press cer- tainly seems to have picked up on the fact that Simon Rattle, almost certainly the biggest name performer in classical music in the UK (though he has worked in Germany since 2002) has reportedly come out with the exceedingly damn- ing conclusion that there is not a single concert hall in the whole of London that has a decent acoustic. Or at least one that he would want to conduct in. I suppose that when your

day job is as the music direc- tor of that Rolls Royce of or-

chestras, the Berlin Philhar- monic, only the very best will do.

To continue the motoring analogy – when you have a Rolls why would you want to drive on a dirt track? Whatever the case it looks

as if, not too far down the line, Mr Rattle will have to make the best of it when he almost certainly takes over the helm of this country’s premier orchestra,the London Sym- phony.

Though there are some won- derful smaller halls , such as the Wigmore Hall, in London, the shortcomings of Lon- don’s big halls (Royal festival Hall,the Barbican, The Royal Albert Hall) is clearly empha-

sised by what is happening elsewhere as the newest halls have the advantage of the lat- est acoustic technology. Britain’s finest large concert

hall is now not in the capital city, but in Birmingham at Symphony Hall. Last month Paris saw the opening of the magnificent Philharmonie de Paris – much awaited and at huge cost. To a performer or conduc-

tor, the acoustic qualities of a building are crucial. The degree of reverberation

or absorption of sound can totally change the sound and, with it, the audience’s enjoy- ment. There are few things as dis- piriting as a poor acoustic.



The hunt for the right acoustic sound I have seen very compe-

tent performers,especially choirs,crumble when faced with one, particularly when it is a hall that drains much of the sound, usually due to the materials such as carpeting and curtains or the shape of the building. Almost as bad are the leisure centre-type acoustics where the sound continues to rever- berate around the hall as an auditory mess for several sec- onds. Fortunately there are some

good acoustics to be found in this area – St David’s Hall is excellent by anyone’s stand- ards, as is the wonderful Dora Stoutzker hall at the Royal Welsh College.

Rigoletto and La Traviata on this weekend

STDAVID’SHALLis presenting two ope- ras this weekend. The Chisinau National Philharmonic Orchestra with International Soloists will present Vladimir Dragos in Verdi’s Rigoletto. Featuring two of the most cel- ebrated tenor arias – La Donna è Mobile and Questa o Quella, Rigoletto is based

on a play by Victor Hugo and is a stun- ning, traditional, fully-staged produc- tion recapturing the decadence of Re- naissance Italy. The opera is on Saturday evening. Verdi’s La Traviata returns by public demand on Sunday evening at 7.30pm. A tragic tale of searing passion and

memorable music, La Traviata is Verdi’s outstanding interpretation of one of the most popular love stories of the 19th cen- tury – La Dame aux Camelias. This magnificent production boasts sumptuous sets and costumes. For booking information on both ope- ras visit

Spellbinding soprano in irst headline tour

LAURA Wright, the 24-year- old mezzo soprano who has sold over a million albums, brings her first UK headline tour to Cardiff this month. “As much as I love perform-

ing to thousands on a pitch, to bring the show alive with my band is going to be spectacu- lar. I can’t wait to share it with you”, says Laura. As the first mezzo-soprano

to performat the Olympic Sta- dium, Laura has toured with tenors Alfie Boe and Russell Watson and opened the iTunes Festival for Andrea Bocelli. Having performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Opera House, Wembley Stadium, The O2, Twickenham Stadium, Buckingham Palace, Westmin- ster Abbey, even The Great Wall of China, Laura is one of Britain’s most accomplished solo soprano singers. Classically trained at the

Royal College Of Music, for which she received a First Degree, for her first headline tour Laura will perform some uplifting and classical favour- ites from her past albums, as well as songs from her re- cently released album Sound of Strength which not only shows off Laura’s classical singing prowess but also fuses

TheParkway Hoteland Spa

MothersDay Lunch at

5 Culture

DULCIT: Laura Wright

together more popular, main- stream works too. Expect to hear World In Un-

ion, Swing Low, Jerusalem, Nessun Dorma, as well as In- vincible, which stole the show at the Opening Ceremony of Prince Harry’s Invictus Games. A firm fixture at sporting events, Laura sings regularly at rugby matches for men and women, the 6 Nations at Twickenham and is the England Rugby team’s first of- ficial anthem singer. Laura Wright is at Royal

Welsh College Of Music and Drama, Cardiff, on March 20. Tickets, £20, are available

by visiting and

Sunday15th March2015

Celebrate your special Mumthis MothersDay.Joinusfrom12noonfor a 3courseCarvery Lunchwith Coffee.

Relaxinthe Lounge afterwardsand enjoythe live entertainment. Gift forall Mums. £28.00 perAdult,£l7.00 perchildunder 12 | Call 01633 871199 to book ParkwayHotel,CwmbranDrive,Cwmbran, NP443UW

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12