When Written on Skin had its premiere at the 2012 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, conducted by George Benjamin himself, it received a standing ovation. The opera's arrival at Covent Garden in 2013 was eagerly anticipated, and provided audiences with the opportunity to experience the work of two of Britain's greatest living artists. Benjamin previously collaborated with playwright Martin Crimp on Into the Little Hill, a magical retelling of the Pied Piper fairytale, and for this new work they joined forces with acclaimed stage director Katie Mitchell. For all three, the production marked their main-stage debut at the Royal Opera House. The tale, inspired by a medieval legend, tells of an ill-fated troubadour, drawn into a liaison with an innocent maiden. But they are observed by the jealous eye of her protector, who wreaks a shocking revenge on the young couple.
Day of the Dead is an epic tribute to the music and artistry of the Grateful Dead, curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National. They have brought together some of their favourite musicians to reinterpret the songs and sounds of the Dead for a new generation. 59 tracks and over 5 hours of music makes the album a landmark to get lost in, to discover hidden treasures and to make your own playlists for whatever mood you’re in. Covers by The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Bill Callahan, Courtney Barnett, Anohni, Wilco, Mumford & Sons, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Flaming Lips, Stephen Malkmus, Cass McCombs, Tim Hecker, Lucinda Williams, Perfume Genius, Fucked Up, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, The Tallest Man On Earth and others.
Herbie Hancock's star-studded The Imagine Project was several years in the making, recorded in seven countries with musicians from all over the globe. Hancock's band with producer/bassist Larry Klein, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, percussionist Alex Acuña, and guitarist Lionel Loueke is a common denominator. Much of what's here is interpretations of well-known pop, folk, and soul songs. That said, The Imagine Project (named for the John Lennon song) feels more like an overreach than a seamless or successful series of collaborations.
"Possibilities" is an intimate documentary about Herbie Hancock and his in-studio collaborations with a dozen formidable pop recording artists, collaborations that explore the unexpected, like jazz improvisations. The film is also about how Herbie's unique world view shapes a creative environment that encourages artists to step outside the velvet prison of easy expectations. "The hip stuff," Herbie tells Trey Anastasio, in a scene from the film, "is outside the comfort zone." "Possibilities" follows Herbie over a year and a half collaborating with musical icons Carlos Santana, Sting, Angelique Kidjo, Annie Lennox and Paul Simon, young superstars Christina Aguilera, John Mayer, Trey Anastasio and Jonny Lang and newcomers Joss Stone, Raul Midon, Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan. The film also puts Herbie's latest work in the context of his extraordinary musical career, and includes rarely seen archival footage of Herbie with the Miles Davis Quintet in 1962; Herbie leading his Headhunters.