My Cultural Year: 2013 Recap & 2014 Preview
And so we come to the end of 2013. What is there to say, since I have said so much already? I’m sure I’ll tryâ€¦
This exceptionally boring time of year between Christmas and New Year is enough to make me manically throw presents out the window and slam a glass of port threw the TV (all while wearing my Christmas cracker hat, of course). Withdrawal comes quickly this most boring of days. It’s just reassuring to know some great events are on their way.
Puffing up my chest like a proud momma bird, I can proudly say it has been a thrilling year of cultural endeavours. For ten years I have been haunting our venues in Cardiff. Where do I go from here? More shows of course! I will list below my favourite performances/concerts/events of the year. I have wracked my brains over what should be the best. Choosing sure can be hard. But what can we look forward to next year? There is plenty to whet my appetite both near and far in the cultural world.
2013 was certainly the year of British composer Benjamin Britten. Wagner and Verdi are always celebrated (a cheeky visit to the former's Bayreuth Festival in Germany is in order), but I do feel I didn’t get to hear enough LutosÅ‚awski. With countless Britten concerts and operas played all over the world, this was undisputedly the biggest festival ever given for a composer from our shore. I heard his music more than any other composers this year. With a visit to Suffolk to his Aldeburgh Festival (being my only trip of the year), it will certainly be a journey that will stay with me.
So What Does 2014 Have For Us?
The centenaries of Dylan Thomas and the start of the First World War will loom over the year (along with other composer b-days). But this sombre (and hopefully sobering) fact won’t stop an exciting list of events that I shall list now:
Welsh National Opera have their Fallen Women and Faith seasons including the crowd-pleasing Manon Lescaut and Nabucco. The more adventurous opera-goers will embark on Boulevard Solitude, Moses Und Aron, and The Fall Of The House Of Usher double bill. These three I can hardly wait for.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales continues their season with such choral masterpieces as FaurÃ©’s Requiem and Brahms’ German Requiem. Mahler’s 9th Symphony will also be a blazing highlight and will most likely be my favourite concert for months. A shout out to the Glendower Ensemble’s morning concert of Messiaen’s Quartet For The End Of Time and a new work by Christopher Petrie at the Reardon Smith Theatre in May as well.
Saint David’s Hall will have more international orchestras and choirs with the SimÃ³n BolÃvar Youth Choir of Venezuela and Basel Symphony Orchestra. BBC NOW, as part of the Vale of Glamorgan Festival performs a concert devoted entirely to the music of recently past away Sir John Tavener. Susan Boyle and Elaine Paige will grace their stage and also Ellen Kent’s touring production of La BohÃ¨me feature also.
As for London, if I go to see only one thing, it has to be the world premier of Henryk GÃ³recki’s 4th Symphony preformed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in April. After the remarkable success of his previous work in the symphonic canon, The Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs, this new worked has been dubbed Tansman Episodes. Forty years in the making, this long awaited composition will sell out and remain a special event. I already have two tickets that I treat likes holy relics, occasionally kissing them for good measure.
I know I have fought tooth and nail with some of you for some certain theatrical events this year. I have loved our passion for getting these tickets and our casual one-upmanship in our attempts. As I always say, please feel free to join me for a show. After all, with my time at theSprout.co.uk, I have taken over forty-five people to shows. Yes, really.
Exhibitions, Books and Creative Writing
Although I have been labelled as the "opera and classical reviewer" for theSprout, I always try to be as diverse as possible in what I see. Exhibitions, books and my own creative writing are what I would like to write about more now. I did attend some exhibitions, yet never got round to reviewing them this year, to my upset. But I was able to see Ana Mendieta and Dayanita Singh at London’s Hayward Gallery. So expect a review of that shortly. I will try and branch out from haikus as well, which I love so much. Much more to write about when it comes to LGBT+ issues as usual.
The Puffball circus project is also on my mind constantly. I’m pleased to say this is a work that I will be actually performing in April at the Roundhouse in London. With circus professionals and a cast of young LGBTQ people (which includes my fabulous self) this will help inspire me to do more performance. More acting I would like to do too and I’ll take any opportunity I can get my hands on. It’s easy to say you want to become a better person and go to the gym. I’d like to think these New Year resolutions will materialise. Articles on my fitness would help for sure.
Thanks again to all at theSprout, CLIConline, ProMo-Cymru and the gang along with the press ticket offerings from numerous venues. You have helped me all a great deal the last year and a bit. You all know who you are. I am so grateful for the opportunities you have given me and the support and encouragement you have offered. Much love.
And so, the very thought of all that next year will ensue puts a twinkle in my eye and a big cheesy grin on my face.
I have enjoyed many great events, with some being truly outstanding milestones in my life. So many memories and so many ticket stubs.
2014 - Here I come!
My Highlights of 2013
- Best Opera: Lohengrin (Lulu a close second and Greek third)
- Best Musical: Soul Sister
- Best Play: Caligula
- Best Concert (Cardiff): Stravinsky’s Rite Of Spring
- Best Concert (London): Messiaen’s Des canyon aux Ã©toiles (Review in English and Welsh)
- Best Film (New release): Hannah Arendt (I’ve yet to see Saving Mr. Banks as the last film of the year to see)
- Best Film (Re-release): The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (My review of Napoleon, the 1927 film version is soon to go online)
- Best Ballet: The Great Gatsby
- Best Dance Piece: Army Of Me & Wonders Of The Universe
- Best Circus Act: Bianco (Review by Jeff the Fridge)
- Best Tribute Act (music): Piaf - The Songs
- Best Talk/Lecture: Why Should Adults Read Children's Books? Presented by Peter Hunt
- Best Gig: The Siren Sisters
- Best Comedy Act: The Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre & Joe Lycett
- Best Exhibition: Ana Mendieta and Dayanita Singh (Review to follow shortly)
- Best Television Programme: Don't Ever Wipe Away Tears Without Gloves
- Best CD: Annie Dressner - East Twenties
- Best Book: My Basmati Bar Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman (Review on it’s way!)
- Best Poem: Philharmonic by Carol Ann Duffy (a review to be composed on this in the new year)
Aldeburgh Festival, Iris Prize, Puffball Circus, The Real Conversation, Cardiff Wales LGBT Mardi Gras, Words On Fire: A Youth Poetry Showcase, somewhereto_ re:store, The Sprout Awards, CLIConline Residential and much more.