Illuminating The Stage


2017122520191208 (R3)"Without light there is no space". Robert Wilson

With glowing lights dispelling the dark of the season, Fiona Shaw explores theatrical lighting.

"I have worked for nearly four decades in the theatre, mainly as an actress, but in the last decade, I've dared to cross the footlights and direct a series of operas - the first thing I discovered was how central to any theatrical event, lighting is. When it's good, everything is good... but when it's bad... oh dear. Did you know it was the lighting that held your avid attention in that opera, play or dance? And is why you can remember it today?"

For thousands of years, audiences had been spellbound by the ingenious use of mirrors, sunlight and fire; the use of candlelight in the early modern English theatre is described by delighted witnesses, and it's revealed in the play texts at the Globe as much as in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London. We'll hear about the brilliant pageants and theatre lighting designs of Inigo Jones - as ingenious then as the marvels we find today.

We explore our deep, atavistic relationship to light - invisible and material light - and what that means to the space, design, and for the words. We'll bask in the limelight with some of the world's greatest lighting obsessives: the contemporary theatre-making master of light, Robert Wilson; Deborah Warner and Simon McBurney; lighting designers Paule Constable, Jean Kalman and Peter Mumford; stage designer Michael Levine and historians Martin White and Scott Palmer - and actor Edward Petherbridge.

"Today stage lighting is more crucial than ever - challenged by the addictive LED of screens and the private drama that sits in computers; the flamboyant lighting of our streets and shops. The world is more lit and the lighting more complicated, so that a show - a play, a dance, an opera - needs a lighting designer to make sense of the almost infinite choices."

A Cast Iron Radio production for BBC Radio 3.

With flickering candles dispelling the darkness, Fiona Shaw illuminates stage light.

SF2017122520191208 (R3)With flickering candles to dispel the darkness, Fiona Shaw illuminates stage light.

Clemens Schuldt makes his debut conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales during their biannual tour of mid and north Wales. Two immensely popular works share the bill in this concert from Bangor. Brahms's Violin Concerto was the latest attempt by the composer to shake off the spectre of Beethoven, which had dogged him his whole compositional life. Former BBC New Generation Artist Aleksey Semenenko explores its joyous themes and hearty dances, which hark back to Brahms's younger days, enjoying life with his friend, and the works dedicatee, Joseph Joachim. Dvořák's final symphony is dedicated not to a person, but to his new home, America. Infused with the sounds of this new world which he had embraced, and renowned for that celebrated cor anglais solo, a theme made famous by a boy delivering bread on a bike (other bakers are available), it certainly is one not to be missed.

Recorded in Prichard Jones Hall, Bangor last month, and presented by Nicola Heywood Thomas.

Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major, Op 77

8.20 Interval music

8.40 Dvorak: Symphony No 9 in E minor, Op 95 'From the New World'

Aleksey Semenenko (violin)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Clemens Schuldt (conductor)