Casting my mind back over the last year, there were, as ever, cultural highlights: Ladies and gentlemen, I present the winners of the Immies for 2010!
LPO, conducted Ösmo Vänska: Sibelius' 4th & 5th Symphonies, Royal Festival Hall, January.
LPO, conducted Jukka-Pekka Saraste with soloist Frank Peter Zimmermann: Martinu Violin Concerto no 1 and Nielsen's 5th Symphony, Royal Festival Hall, December.
Philharmonia, conducted Esa-Pekka Salonen: Lemminkaïnen, Royal Festival Hall, October.
All Scandinavian conductors and almost all Scandinavian music, which is odd; but those were the tip-top outstanding performances in a very good year.
Fugard “The Road to Mecca”, Arcola Theatre, June. A brilliant revival of a deeply moving play, heart-rending and thought-provoking.
Best ballet and dance:
Royal Ballet "Asphodel Meadows", May. A clear winner; deeply exciting to see such a fantastic piece from a young choreographer just starting out.
Royal Ballet New Works at the Linbury Studio Theatre, June.
Royal Ballet "Sylvia", December.
Royal Ballet "Onegin", October.
A bit of a winning year all round for the Royal Ballet. Four peaks out of a year of great performances, ranging from the high tutu'ed classical to the brand new and stunning. A ballet company on a roll.
The new ENO "Tosca", directed by Catherine Malfitano; beautifully sung, played and conducted (by Edward Gardner), a well and clearly directed traditional production with good designs and no superfluous silliness.
"The Tristan Project" at the RFH. Salonen does Wagner - a knockout performance musically and introduced me to the excellent Gary Lehman. The exact opposite of the ENO "Tosca" (& not just musically!) - a weird concept production, confusingly semi-staged, with bizarre video extras; but overall it was just stunning.
Sir Charles Mackerras conducting "The Cunning Little Vixen" at the Royal Opera House. Stagewise not the best production I've seen, but musically wonderful. RIP.
Best individual performances:
No contest for the winner
Linda Bassett as Miss Helen in "The Road to Mecca". A heartbreaking performance.
and three very good runners up
Amanda Echalaz and Anthony Michaels-Moore as Tosca and Scarpia in the ENO "Tosca".
Laura Morera and Federico Bonelli as Tatiana and Onegin in the Royal Ballet's “Onegin”.
Gary Lehman as Tristan in the "Tristan Project"
"Kingdom of Ife – West African sculptures" at the British Museum.
"Christian Købke" at the National Gallery.