Felder begins the show by telling us about a letter he received requesting that he perform his piece in Russia in honour of their beloved Tchaikovsky; which he then reveals to us is the most terrifying invitation he has ever received. Why is that, you might ask? Well, this piece is more than just an appreciation of the composers great work, but an intimate insight into the composers friendships and his sexuality, resulting in the pain and suffering which he poured into some of his most famous compositions. Felder takes on the role ofTchaikovsky with great ease and a fantastic Russian accent, guiding us from Tchaikovsky’s early childhood and the premature death of his mother right the way through to his own death at the age of 53, breaking character just once to talk to the audience about the continuing laws and hate crimes which target and put homosexuals in Russia at risk. It is an incredible piece of storytelling theatre which takes you to the soul of the music and makes a strong political statement about how homosexuals are still treated today. Felder makes us laugh on more than one occasion, impersonating the various other musical geniuses Tchaikovsky encountered in his life, and with delicate and warm observations the maestro made in his own life. The entire piece is wound around the music itself and knowing the inspirations behind the music made listening to the compositions played by Felder’s masterful hand spine-tingling.
It is a pleasure, nay, a privilege to watch Felder as Actor/Muso enchant his audience with this expertly woven tapestry of emotion and music, and you can see why Felder uses this tried and tested format of performance and story telling time and time again (he has performed as Gershwin and Chopin to name a few). I feel that I now know the true story behind all of his great masterpieces which will forever come to the forefront of my mind, particularly when I listen to his haunting 6th Symphony. If all classical music concerts were performed in this way then perhaps we would all have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the masters of music who came before our Bowies and our GaGa’s. - Lucy Newbery