Following their run of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at Birmingham's Tower Ballroom this month, Alpesh and the Birmingham Opera Company have received an abundance of praise from press and audience members alike for their performances. The City of Birmingham Orchestra recently published some lovely highlights, which you can see on their website here.
Highlights in the press have included five 5* reviews from The Times, The Guardian, the Observer, The Stage and The Arts Desk, and many more glowing reports elsewhere in the media. Scroll through a selection of quotes below.
"the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (boosted by an onstage brass band of Birmingham students) [gave] a magnificently taut and sometimes terrifying account of the score directed by the superb Alpesh Chauhan. With soloists sometimes singing 40m from the conductor, there’s not a moment of dodgy ensemble all night — a miracle of rapport.”
The Times (*****) - March 2019
"The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra are on the largest platform, their playing perfectly judged regarding balance with the voices ... [Alpesh Chauhan] does an excellent job, invigorating the score and holding his widely spaced forces together via TV screens.”
The Guardian (*****) - March 2019
“All praise, on that note, to the conductor Alpesh Chauhan and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for providing firm anchorage, as well as thrilling exuberance, in what cannot be the easiest of environments.”
The Telegraph (****) - March 2019
“… under Alpesh Chauhan, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra swung between the circus-band screeches and oily pianissimos of Shostakovich’s score with the muscular grace of a Soviet gymnast … Every sterile, faddish debate in contemporary opera is confronted, answered and impatiently thrown aside. Singing in English? Obviously. Surtitles? Unnecessary. Diverse casting? Been doing it for years. New audiences? Look around you. Critics can bicker, but meanwhile BOC has a show to put on.”
The Spectator - March 2019
"Lady Macbeth, BOC’s 50th production, is perhaps its most brilliant so far, praise in itself given the company’s impressive track record … Relishing the music’s lurid and caressing colours, and on rigorous form, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra … The conductor Alpesh Chauhan, Birmingham-born and nurtured but with a fast-growing international reputation"
Observer (*****) - March 2019
“The full City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra [is] conducted by brilliant young Brum-born Alpesh Chauhan … [Chauhan wins] expressive beauties and the genuine pianissimos from the CBSO.”
The Arts Desk (*****) - March 2019
"Above the dance floor, members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra sit behind glowing music stands, wringing out the rage and the lyricism in Shostakovich’s mercurial score. Calm and unhurried, conductor Alpesh Chauhan manages to keep them in touch with the singers even when they’re at the far end of the room.”
The Stage (*****) - March 2019
“… native Birminghamster Alpesh Chauhan ... marshalled his huge and far-flung forces, including a stage band drawn from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire students, with impressive sang-froid and thrilling musical results"
The Sunday Times - March 2019
"… the strongest impact of all comes from the sheer musical values of this presentation. Alpesh Chauhan conducts a searing, biting CBSO with an adept feel for pacing of the drama, underlining all the tension, bringing irony to the folky passages, and, thanks to excellent CCTV coverage, drawing from the singers a quite astounding perfection of ensemble secured at such distances."
Midlands Music Reviews - March 2019