ENO's Thebans, Sir James Galway, The Wallfischs and The Mozart Project

Tom Service is joined by music critic Fiona Maddocks and theatre critic Michael Billington to review the British composer Julian Anderson's first opera, Thebans, based on Sophocles and directed by Pierre Audi at English National Opera. Tom meets the world famous flautist Sir James Galway, now in his seventy fifth year, and talks about his career and what the future may have in store. Continuing our series of Just the Two of Us - mother and son Anita Lasker-Wallfisch and Raphael Wallfisch discuss the importance of the cello in both of their lives, why Anita didn't want Raphael to be a musician, and what the best piece of advice is that that Raphael has ever received from his mother. There's also a report on The Mozart Project, a new interactive e-book that will be updated at least twice a year, giving readers the opportunity to put questions to the authors at the end of each chapter. Tom meets the brains behind the project, and asks if this is the start of a new relationship between reader and content.

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45 minutes

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Sat 10 May 2014 12:15



The British composer Julian Anderson has chosen Sophocles’ Theban tragedies as the subject for his first opera, which premiered at English National Opera last week. Anderson himself, and his librettist, the renowned playwright Frank McGuinness explain their vision for the work and Tom Service reviews the production with Fiona Maddocks of the Observer and Michael Billington of the Guardian.

More information:Julian Anderson's Thebans at ENO, London until 3rd June

Julian Anderson's Thebans broadcast in Opera on 3 - Mon 26th May

Photo ©Tristram Kenton



This year marks the seventy-fifth birthday of the flautist Sir James Galway. Born in Belfast, he studied in London and Paris before embarking on an orchestral career which culminated in his appointment as principal flute with the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan. He talks to Tom about growing up in Belfast, and what prompted him to give up one of the most coveted orchestral jobs in the world to go it alone. Through extensive touring, album sales of over 30 million, and frequent television appearances, Sir James has endeared himself to millions worldwide. But as he tells Tom, there’s still a lot he wants to do.

More information: Sir James Galway



Continuing our series, Just the Two of Us, which features close musicians in conversation with one another, we hear from the cellist Raphael Wallfisch, and his mother Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, also a cellist and founder member of the English Chamber Orchestra. Sent to Auschwitz in 1943, Anita secured a position for herself in the Birkenau women’s orchestra which meant that her status at camp was one of relative “privilege”: the cello saved her life. She and her son discuss the importance of the cello in both of their lives, why Anita didn’t want Raphael to be a musician, and what the best piece of advice is that Raphael has ever received from his mother.

More information: Raphael Wallfisch

Photo of Anita Lasker-Wallfisch ©B. Ealovega



The first interactive book on Mozart is due to be released later this month. The Mozart Project – an iBook that can be viewed on a tablet –not only includes articles written by some of today’s leading Mozart scholars, but also new recordings of the composer’s music, discussions and much more. What makes this so unique is that it’s a “living book” – readers can submit questions to the authors, and it will be continuously updated as new material on the composer comes to light. Tom meets the book’s creators Harry Farnham and James Fairclough, and Professor Cliff Eisen, one of the main contributors to the project. Violinist Theo Kung and harpist Elisa Netzer, two postgraduate students at the Royal Academy of Music, give their thoughts on whether projects like this could eventually supplant the traditional composer biography.

More information: The Mozart Project iBook

Picture: Mozart c. 1780, detail from portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce



Role Contributor
PresenterTom Service
Interviewed GuestFiona Maddocks
Interviewed GuestMichael Billington
Interviewed GuestSir James Galway
Interviewed GuestAnita Lasker-Wallfisch
Interviewed GuestRaphael Wallfisch

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