Wednesday, November 16, 2005
David Hockney's 'Private Passions'
David Hockney's creative genius embraces the performing, as well as the visual, arts. His first stage commission was for a production of Jarry's Ubu Roi at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1966. In 1974 he designed his first opera, the highly acclaimed Rake's Progress by Stravinsky for Glyndebourne. A second collaboration with Glyndebourne followed, on Mozart's Magic Flute (below) in 1978. I remember sitting in the audience that year wearing the de rigeur Glyndebourne uniform of dinner jacket, Hockney was in the row behind wearing a tee shirt and a non-matching pair of old trainers.
Other notable stage commissions included triple bills of Satie, Poulenc and Ravel (Parade, Les Mamelles de Tiresias and L'enfant et les sortilèges) and Stravinsky (Le Rossignol, Le Sacré du Printemps and Oedipus Rex) in 1981 for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Wagner's Tristan und Isolde for the Los Angeles Music Centre, Puccini's Turandot in San Francisco and Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten at Covent Garden.
Given such a brilliant involvement with the performing arts it is not surprising that David Hockney's selection of musical 'Private Passions,' selected for the BBC Radio 3 programme of the same name, is an enchanting selection of magical moments from the theatre:
* Richard Strauss, 'Falcon Aria' (from Die Frau ohne Schatten, Act II), René Kollo (Emperor)/ Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Wolfgang Sawallisch EMI CDC 749077-2
* Mozart, 'Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkunden' (from The Magic Flute), Lucia Popp (Pamina) / Tolz Boys' Choir / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Bernard Haitink EMI CDC 747953-2
* Ravel, 'Five o'clock Foxtrot' (from L'enfant et les sortilèges), Jocelyne Taillon (Chinese cup), Philip Langridge (Teapot) / London Symphony Orchestra / André Previn EMI CDC 747169-2
* Stavinsky, 'Song of the Nightingale' (from Le rossignol), Phylis Bryn-Julson (Nightingale), Neil Howlett (Emperor) / BBC Symphony Orcestra / Pierre Boulez Erato 2292-45627-2
* Wagner, Prelude to Tristan und Isolde, Philharmonia / Wilhelm Furtwängler EMI CDC 747322-2
* Bartók, String Quartet No. 2 (second movement, Allegro molto capriccioso), Takás Quartet Hungaraton HCD 12502-2
Programme playlist from Private Passions by Michael Berkeley, published by Faber. David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) comes via WebMuseum, Paris.
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