The Crown

The Crown
Alex as the Duke of Windsor

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saturday Review

BBC Radio 4's Saturday Review has an item on Candide. It was mentioned that BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a recording of the production in the autumn!

The review can be heard until 4 July on Radio 4.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

More Candide has a good review of Candide and seems happy with Alex: "Thank goodness for the sensational, suave Alex Jennings: he's perhaps the only person completely at home and relaxed with the material, which is miraculous given the challenge of the triple role he plays. As Voltaire, he draws the audience in with his ironic declamations; as Pangloss, he plays the bogus teacher to a tee; and his portrayal of Martin's deep cynicism is one of the most touching moments of the evening. His singing and diction are just right for the piece, and, in a way, it's worth going just to see him."

They also have the first picture!

Full review: Musical Criticism

More mixed feelings about the production from Edward Seckerson in The Independent, but again only praise for Alex: "It was Bernstein and Hellman’s idea that Candide’s tutor, the philosopher Dr. Pangloss, should, as a re-embodiment of Voltaire, become our master of ceremonies. Subsequent rewrites have made this more explicit and here we have the brilliant Alex Jennings slipping nonchalantly between the two – not to mention Pangloss’s alter ego, the cynic Martin, whose belief in “the worst of all possible worlds” achieves greater resonance in this production with his bitter laughing song “Words, Words, Words”. Jennings nails that."

Full review: The Independent

Thursday, June 26, 2008

First Candide Reviews

The first reviews are in. Richard Morrison in the Times on line isn't happy about the production but puts brilliant and Alex Jennings in the same phrase: "a smartypants Rumsfeld-like Doctor Pangloss (the brilliant Alex Jennings, who is also Voltaire, a cynical dustman, and the night’s chief redeeming feature)".

Full review: Timesonline

Fiona Maddocks on has mixed feelings about the production, but "We're tuned to Volt-Air TV with the French Enlightenment philosopher himself as the channel-flicking narrator - played superbly by Alex Jennings who, doubling as the perfectly flossed optimist Pangloss and the old tramp-pessimist Martin, stole the show."

Full review:This is London

Rupert Christiansen in the Telegraph calls Alex's performance "deliciously wry".

Full review: Telegraph

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More From Toby Spence

Toby Spence has more to say about Alex in a preview in the Independent:

"In this production the actor Alex Jennings will play Pangloss. Can he sing? "Yes – he did My Fair Lady – but when you ask me a question like that, I have to ask you, what is singing?" OK, what is singing? "It's projecting words through music. Which is why actors often make fantastic singers." But has he a voice? "It's quite annoying – he can't read music, but he sings on pitch, and he's got a good ear. He's a really good Pangloss.""

The Independent

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Toby Spence on Candide and Alex

The Times Online has an interview with Toby Spence on his part as Candide. He mentions Alex and the difference between actors and opera singers:

"Spence obviously can't wait. He thrives on Carsen's brand of aggressive theatricality, and is keen to work with stage actors (Alex Jennings plays Pangloss). “Every day I see him adding something, or taking something out. Whereas we opera singers arrive having made a lot of decisions, he's putty, and that's fascinating for me.”"

For the full interview see: Times Online

Monday, June 16, 2008

Candide Goodies

English National Opera has published more information on Candide on their website.

There is a short trailer on their weblog, which does not feature Alex but has information on the production. This is the first instalment. You can find it at English National Opera's Weblog.

Then there is a podcast with director Robert Carsen, conductor Rumon Gamba, Jamie Bernstein, Alex and Toby Spence discussing Candide. You can download it from: ENO podcasts.