Christmas cracker for Dome faithful

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Christmas came early for the Dome faithful on Sunday when they were totally enraptured by the virtuosic skills of violin supremo Vasko Vassilev.

The 43-year-old has been a prized guest of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra before thanks to his Covent Garden connections with their music director Barry Wordsworth but this time it was an especially memorable visit as Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D gave him the opportunity to show his immense talents to the full.

Wordsworth and the orchestra played their part but centre stage belonged to the gifted Bulgarian whose talents extend to being a multi-linguist and creative producer of the Royal Opera House.

A standing ovation from some of the audience gave fair indication of just how highly regarded the performance was and it proved a most tasty filling in a sandwich that also included the dark and light shaded overture from Englebert Humperdinck’s opera Hansel and Gretel and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Act 2.

The choice of programmes in a shortened 89th BPO season have so far been hugely enjoyable and that is likely to continue when Wordsworth takes the baton for the traditional New Year’s Eve concert, which will feature soprano Susana Gaspar.

First concert of the New Year on January 12 also promises a treat with Dvorak’s New World and Slavonic Dances, together with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 6.

Chris Francis