Carousel at Opera North
Carousel was the follow up to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ground-breaking 1943 musical Oklahoma! According to Stephen Sondheim Oklahoma! is about a picnic whereas Carousel is about life and death. The serious nature of the piece allows for a more complex musical structure and it is scored for a large orchestra (at least 39 players) – one which the West End or Broadway would struggle to afford! Tom Service travels to Leeds to meet the director Jo Davies and conductor James Holmes to hear about their vision for Opera North’s new production of Carousel and talks to the principal singers about their roles.
The Björling Sound: A Recorded Legacy
The Swedish tenor Jussi Björling shaped the tastes of generations of opera lovers during his lifetime and his influence still resonates today. Tom talks to Stephen Hastings who has listened to thousands of hours of recordings to write his new book on Björling then opera director Mike Ashman and tenor Toby Spence give their view of the Björling legacy. While Toby Spence was in the studio he also talked to Tom about how his recent diagnosis with thyroid cancer (which has subsequently been operated on) changed his life and his attitude to music and his voice.
Pauline Oliveros is a senior figure in contemporary American music. Her career spans fifty years of boundary dissolving music making. In the '50s she was part of a circle of iconoclastic composers, artists and poets gathered together in San Francisco. Her life has been about opening her own and others' sensibilities to the universe and facets of sounds. Tom meets the composer, performer and humanitarian who since the 1960's has influenced American music profoundly through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual.