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Martha Argerich comes to … Manchester

Among the many cities where the great pianist has never cancelled, let alone performed, is the Venice of the North, a city of endless delights, world capital of football and darts…. yes, you named it, Manchester.

She going to break her duck there in July, when the football’s off.

How did that happen? Gábor Takács-Nagy, music director of the Manchester Camerata, is one of her many friends. Read on here.

The Canal, Manchester, Lancashire, 1925

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  1. Many thanks for this; it’s good indeed to have some positive news from Manchester for a change!

  2. Little bit patronising in language and picture, Norman. Sure, Manchester doesn’t attract the visiting soloists and orchestras that London does, but it is hardly as though The Halle, BBC Phil etc are playing in grimy mills!

  3. Bob Thomas says:

    Never did the phrase “caveat emptor” apply more than to a Martha Argerich concert. Management had better have a top-flight substitute in place.

  4. Why on Earth is Manchester called Venice of the North.

    Birmingham has more canals than Venice, let alone Manchester.

  5. Derek Castle says:

    Now, now, Norman! I now feel privileged to have heard her in a solo recital in a small hall in Germany in the 70s.

  6. Pira Beresford says:

    Completely uncalled for and patronising comments about Manchester.

    Still, I have my tickets so fingers-crossed, it’s a good programme even if she doesn’t show.

    The next day I am seeing the Opera North Siegfried in Leeds – but of course that is another grimy crime-ridden northern city that Mr Lebrecht will have no interest in.

  7. Lucky Manchester.. It just went on my list of places to be aware of!
    Anyone who attends must come back and tell all, please!

  8. Alison M. says:

    Furious, having just read Norman Lebrecht’s patronising comments about Manchester. What an insult to the very many cultured and musically knowledgeable Mancunians. When did you last go to a Camerata concert, Norman? The last one, at a packed RNCM, featuring Camerata’s amazing young leader Giovanni Guzzo playing both the Vivaldi and the Piazzolla Four Seasons was one of the best concerts I have ever attended.
    Mancheter Camerata under Gabor Takas-Nagy is now a first rate chamber orchestra and stands comparison with the best that London can offer. Come up to Manchester, Norman, and judge for yourself!
    Now I live in Wigan, so you’ll have to excuse me while I put on my flat cap and muffler and take the whippets for a walk.

    • Halldor says:

      This sort of throwaway putdown is the norm amongst metropolitan media circles – last month we witnessed Rupert Christiansen berating Welsh National Opera for (in his view) wasting time and money putting on “Lulu in Llandudno”: as if Wales’s national opera company shouldn’t be taking its current flagship production to the biggest and best-equipped Welsh music-theatre venue outside of Cardiff, serving the entire northern half of the Principality.

      One got the feeling that for Christiansen, “Llandudno” was simply a punchline; hard to avoid the suspicion he’s never attended Venue Cymru. Fine: but if you’re going to adopt such a parochial mentality, don’t have the gall to call yourself a “national” critic.

      Oh, and Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

  9. Norman,

    I think she is more attached to Boca Juniors, but not to the Red Devils or City (Or Wanderers?). Football is not the reason for sure. Unfortunately, I don’t know the Camerata. However, If they are receiving such legend soloist that can fully book any hall in the planet, I think they must be on good level. Nice concert to Manchester!

  10. stuart Robinson says:

    Mr. Lebrecht, you are entitled to publish your view of Manchester. However Martha Argerich has graced our city more than once. She played Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor and again Prokofiev’s 3rd concerto in C major. For the record both marvellous performances were played in the Free Trade Hall, with the Hallé, Claudio Abbado conducting.

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