Stravinsky ballets – The Observer

Petrushka fizzed like a good champagne, while Rite of Spring exhausted us with its primal violence. Rattle conducted from memory throughout.
Read full review

The Damnation of Faust – The Observer

When Rattle turned to conduct the young Tiffin singers in the auditorium, the audience saw what the orchestra and chorus see all the time – Sir Simon at work, directing operations with coaxing, smiling assurance, using his special gift to make every performer feel their contribution is vital.
Read full review

The Damnation of Faust – MusicOMH

The orchestra was brilliant throughout, providing some magical moments: the lightest of string tones at the opening of Parts 1 and 3; the woodwind’s uncannily accurate representation of a military silver-band for the Marche Hongroise, the dark brooding quality of the opening of Part 2; the perfect Second-Empire sound of muted woodwind and brass, trembling strings and soft timpani for the opening of the Easter Hymn; and just the right touch of the gothic for the terrifying gallop for the Course d’abîme, where Berlioz’s writing is at its most florid, and care needs to be taken not to stray into camp overstatement (it feels as though it needs only the addition of coconut hoof-beats for it to tip into comedy).
Read full review

Stravinsky ballets – Classical Source

Cumulatively, there was plenty to stun, plenty of elemental drama, every department of the LSO excelling, the coloration vivid, inevitable, terrifying, snarling, the processional, assault and climaxes relentless.
Read full review

The Damnation of Faust – The Guardian

The velvety flow of the opening minutes, the electrifying buoyancy of the soldiers’ marches in Part 1, the throbbing double-bass heartbeats underlying Marguerite’s lament – the performance was full of memorable cameos, joining together seamlessly to form a rich and vivid picture.
Read full review

Stravinsky ballets – Bachtrack

Only the superlatives, only the full five stars can do justice to an evening which is bound to stay imprinted on the memory. This was a very fine concert indeed.
Read full review

The Damnation of Faust – Bachtrack

The devil really does get the best tunes and Rattle ensured a demonic gallop into hell before that celestial finale.
Read full review

Stravinsky ballets – Evening Standard

Rattle and his superlative LSO players did full justice to [The Firebird's] ravishing sonorities, capturing also its enchanted quality.
Read full review

The Damnation of Faust – The Times

And if the LSO-Rattle era unfolds in similar style, we’re in for some thrilling concerts. The orchestra sounded fabulous and the LSO Chorus was on fiery, agile form as, variously, soldiers, students, peasants, gnomes, sylphs, demons and the damned.
Read full review (subscription required)

Stravinsky ballets – Financial Times

But the real challenge in this 1913 piece is to be simultaneously precise and unkempt, and that’s where this performance really scored. There was no recoiling here from Stravinsky’s pounding rhythms, nor from his extreme decibel levels: credit, especially, goes to the outstanding percussion and brass sections.
Read full review

The Damnation of Faust – Seen and Heard

Orchestrally, perhaps the exceptional viola solos of Alexander Zemtsov in the “Ballad of the King of Thule” merit a spotlight of their own, but one has to acknowledge overall that this was the London Symphony Orchestra at its very best.
Read full reviews

Stravinsky ballets – The Arts Desk

Well, last night, with no celebratory overload around the main event, the homecomer was flying like a firebird, and taking a newly galvanized orchestra with him, at the start of another genuine spectacular.
Read full review

The Damnation of Faust – Evening Standard

As Faust’s fantasy beloved Marguerite, Karen Cargill was appropriately demure and ardent, in telling contrast to Christopher Purves’s Mephistopheles: singers don’t come much more infernal than Purves, who balances perfectly between malevolence and charm.
Read full review