The London Symphony Orchestra arguably the best in the world. The Sydney Opera House is one of the finest of its type, anywhere. When the two come together, it’s pure magic – as I found out the other night, when I went to witness LSO perform under the baton of legendary conductor, Valery Gergiev. The program was a very savvy ‘old meets new’ of Russian music, a cycle of Prokofiev and Stravinsky. Prokofiev’s First Symphony is a case study in masterly classicism, his Fifth, a more contemplative, grand geste affair. Wedging Stravinsky’s folk story, Petrushka between these two pillars of Russian orthodoxy was a stroke of sheer genius! Gergiev pushes the orchestra to the edge of their capacities. it’s breathtaking to watch – and almost exhausting to listen to. He squeezes the very essence of modernity out of his musicians, and the music. Extraordinary!