20 Jun 2006
Heine and Schumann — Wigmore Hall, London
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
Tim Ashley [The Guardian, 20 June 2006]
"I am both the harvester and grave-digger of Romanticism," Heinrich Heine once announced, a statement typical of one of Germany's greatest, if most conflicted, writers. Heine's life, work, and influence on music, were the subjects of this two-concert event, the brainchild of pianist Graham Johnson. Serving as both narrator and accompanist, Johnson interwove a biographical study of Heine with extracts from his writings, read by Gabriel Woolf, and settings of his poetry performed by young singers from the UK and Germany. The result was a complex portrait of a poet who provoked some of the greatest songs ever written, yet whose range was never fully captured by the musicians he inspired.