When Beautiful pop was kosher

By David Robson, March 12, 2015

At London's Aldwych theatre, the young English cast of Beautiful, taking their wildly applauded curtain call on the first night, were joined by three Jewish Americans, in their 70s: a long-married couple Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, and, stage centre, diminutive, frizzy-haired and grandmotherly Carole King, whose work the musical celebrates.


How chutzpah landed a superstar for charity

By Naomi Firsht, February 19, 2015

From the moment Hannah Shabathai became president of the charity "Save a Child's Heart", in Switzerland, the seed of an idea grew in her mind: a way to combine her two passions, SACH and music; a concert with world-class pianist Evgeny Kissin. The retired United Nations worker is a lifelong fan of the musician, having studied piano herself for 15 years at the Geneva Music Academy.


The genius of these piano rhapsodies

By Mark Bebbington, January 29, 2015

Jewish links abound in music – as a gentile I can observe rather than feel this from the outside, as it were, but as a pianist I feel it deeply. You can't help but do so. The whole so-called ''Golden Age of Pianism'' – that amazing school of pianists that encompassed astonishing virtuosos like Joseph Hoffman, through to Vladimir Horowitz and Shura Cherkassky - is quite Jewish-owned.


Sing the praises of a Jewish Christmas

By Paul Lester, December 18, 2014

Santa Baby. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire). Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Some of the best-known Christmas songs were written by Jews. White Christmas - the biggest-selling single of all time- was penned by a Jew, Irving Berlin, with sales estimated at over 50 million.


Opera: Tristan und Isolde

By Stephen Pollard, December 11, 2014

I first heard Tristan und Isolde 29 years ago, with Reginald Goodall conducting at the ENO. Those performances set a high bar – they were so all-encompassing that I was unable to listen to music for weeks afterwards and, to this day, I can recall the impact.


Jews who really got them going

By John Nathan, November 27, 2014

There is embedded in our culture an oft-repeated story about pop music and it goes something like this: a brilliant talent, usually from a working-class background is discovered by a wealthy agent who exploits the hitherto unknown hopeful to the hilt.


Band Aid: Feeding the world or just their own egos?

By Barry Frankfurt, November 27, 2014

If proof were needed that no good deed goes unpunished, it is evidenced in the response from some quarters to Band Aid 30 and the latest release of the charity hit, Do they know it's Christmas? Smug, self-righteous and patronising are just a few of the criticisms levelled at Sir Bob Geldof and his troupe of all-singing do-gooders.


Interview: Bette Midler

By Ruth Huntman, November 20, 2014

Setting up an audience with the showbusiness behemoth that is Bette Midler is an unnerving experience… for all the right reasons. Let me explain.

When interviewing the famous - especially those of Midler's calibre - there's often a life-draining ritual that must be negotiated before the golden ticket is granted.


She was the voice of the Jewish blues

By John Nathan, November 20, 2014

Next week, the British Greek-Cypriot folk singer Martha D Lewis releases a CD whose inspiration is one of the great, overlooked solo artists of the last century.


Opera review: Idomeneo

By Stephen Pollard, November 13, 2014

Martin Kusej's cult-cum-dictatorship interpretation of Idomeneo was roundly booed on its opening night. But although much of it is rather silly - Arbace wanders around, inexplicably, with an accordion - much of it is rather good. It's thought-provoking to have the chorus singing not in admiration of Idomeneo but compelled by force to do so.