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Michael White’s music news: Clara Schumann, English Touring Opera; Bernard Haitink

07 March, 2019 — By Michael White

Portrait of Clara Schumann, 1878, by Franz von Lenbach

THERE’S widespread interest at the moment in the work of Clara Schumann: wife of Robert, celebrated pianist, and composer in her own right, though her music has been largely overshadowed by her husband’s. But not this year, which is her 200th anniversary and the occasion for an in-depth focus on her work at Kings Place – including a concert next Thursday 14th that features piano trios by Clara (in C minor) and Robert (in F) side by side. So you can judge their relative merits. Played by the Kungsbacka Trio, it starts at 7.30pm, from £16.50.
And if you wanted to explore the work of more contemporary female composers, the same venue has a concert the night before – Wednesday 13th, 8pm – with music by female jazz musicians like Dee Byrne and Cath Roberts. Kings Place, York Way, N1 9AG.

ENGLISH Touring Opera continue their residency at the Hackney Empire this week, with one-off performances of Mozart’s first truly mature opera Idomeneo, on Friday 8th, and Verdi’s blood-soaked take on Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play”, Macbeth, on Saturday. Both start at 7.30pm. And both are strong dramatic works that you can expect the mostly youthful singers of ETO to get their teeth around. Hackney Empire, Mare Street, E8 1EJ. Tickets from £10, 020 8985 2424,

NEVER miss an opportunity to see the great at work. And one of the truly great of modern times has been the Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink who celebrates his 90th birthday with two LSO concerts at the Barbican this week: on Sunday 10th, 7pm (Mozart & Bruckner), and next Thursday 14th, 7.30pm (Mahler’s 4th Symphony). Don’t hold back: who knows if he’ll be here again. Barbican, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. Tickets from £16, 020 7638 8891,

Other concerts

Bocheng Wang – Chinese pianist, studying at the Royal Academy of Music and semi-finalist at the Santander Competition, in heavy-hitting repertoire like Prokofiev’s 7th Sonata. Plus little-known pieces by Nielsen. 1pm. Free. Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, W1C 2DJ.

Bach’s St John Passion – performed with a period instrument band by the North London Chorus under conductor Murray Hipkin. 7.30pm St James, Muswell Hill, N10 3DP. Tickets from £11,

Choral Singing Day – led by LSO Chorus director Simon Halsey, for anyone with basic sight-reading skills. Learn Vaughan Williams’s Mystical Songs and Ireland’s Greater Love. 10am, Jerwood Hall, 161 Old Street, EC1V 9NG. Tickets £20/£16 cons, 020 7638 8891,

One of the UK’s finest string quartets, the Belcea, playing Haydn & Britten (the poignant final quartet, composed as Britten faced the prospect of death). 1pm, Wigmore Hall, Wigmore Street, W1U 2BP. Tickets £16/£14 cons, 020 7935 2141,

Bart’s Choir sing Leonard Bernstein’s heartfelt if slightly schmaltzy Chichester Psalms, and the mystical Duruflé Requiem. 7.30pm, St James’s Church, Sussex Gardens, Paddington Green, W2 3UD. Also Wednesday 13th

English National Opera revive their successful Simon McBurney production of Mozart’s Magic Flute: an unorthodox staging that exposes in an artful way the process by which opera happens, backstage business vying for attention with the singers. Fascinating but not pretty. 7.30pm, Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES. Nine performances until April 11. 020 7845 9300,

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