Monday, 18 February 2013

Immies for last year

I realise with embarrassment that I never got round to doing my personal arts awards for last year.  Oops.  Not as though anyone is likely to have been waiting for them, but still!  It's the awards time of year, and here are mine.  I can't give you a parade of evening-dressed stars shivering in the rain, but that's probably just as well, for them if not for me.

So: here are the winners of the Immies for 2012.

Performances of the year:

Concert: Britten “War Requiem”; Philharmonia Orchestra under Lorin Maazel, in the Festival Hall back in March.  I don’t always like Maazel’s conducting, he often strikes me as terribly cool and measured, but with the War Requiem to play with, and my favourite orchestra and chorus, and a top-notch trio of soloists, he really got fired up and let rip, and the result was a truly fabulous performance.  Especial honours to brilliant Mark Padmore (still having trouble believing this chap was at school with my brother Steve), the heart-rending tenor soloist.  

Operas:  “Der Rosenkavalier”, ENO at the Coliseum.  “Peter Grimes”, ENO at the Proms.  Impossible to slip a sheet of paper between these two for quality of performance; conducting, playing and cast were all first class.  It was fascinating to see how the ENO “Peter Grimes” actually got even better when done as a concert performance rather than a fully-staged production – a real indicator of the strength of the performances and the commitment of all concerned.

Stage play: Nick Payne “Constellations” at the Duke of York’s Theatre.  An extraordinary piece of work; funny, moving and deeply thought-provoking – and a tour de force for the cast.

Exhibition: David Hockney at the Royal Academy.  Marvellous, inspirational stuff.

Dance: The Royal Ballet revivals of Ashton’s “The Dream” and “A Month in the Country” and Wayne McGregor’s “Infra”.  Such a total contrast that I cannot pick between them.

Performers of the year:

Opera: Stuart Skelton in the ENO “Peter Grimes” prom, see above; Otto Maidi in the Cape Town Opera production of “Porgy and Bess”.

Stage: Rafe Spall in “Constellations” – an object lesson in how to make a thoroughly ordinary guy into a credible romantic hero.

Dance: Zenaida Yanowsky in “A Month in the Country”.  Luxuriously gorgeous in her abandonment, in duets with first Gary Avis and then Rupert Pennefather, and heart-breaking in her final moments of desolation.  She was also a superb Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake” in the autumn; no mere princess here but a true Swan Queen, regal, mythic and tragic.

No comments: