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Reviews for the English premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Oprichnik, 2023:


‘Chief honors for this performance go to James Ham, an up-and-coming young conductor who usefully studied in St. Petersburg. His flexible, deftly paced reading bore the stamp of authenticity, full of passionate Tchaikovskian ebb and flow. His orchestra responded with evident enthusiasm. Overall, this was a heartfelt and energetic performance and the Russian language was handled with aplomb’.

Musical America 



‘James Ham negotiated the lurchings of plot, style, and inspiration with a cool head, and the large orchestra and chorus delivered the score’s tender lyricisim and blasts of red-blooded, broad-brush drama with considerable panache’.




‘James Ham’s conducting was astute and effective… A performance at Cadogan Hall that proved Tchaikovsky’s rarity deserves to be far better known’. – ****




Reviews from other performances:


‘This was a performance of full-toned distinction, Ham conjuring an account of imagination and individuality’.

Classical Source



‘Timing and tone were spot on, and the musical numbers – nattily conducted by James Ham – were confident and classy, the conversational idiom suave’.




‘Something of a tour de force for the players, it was given an outing of brilliance, unanimity, finesse and clarity under James Ham’s unobtrusive direction’.

Classical Source



‘This was also the debut of young conductor, James Ham. He led a nicely paced performance with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, giving the mime scenes room to breathe’. – ****

The Independent



‘Full blooded strings and characterful playing from the wind and brass. Ham’s direction made the piece an organic whole, full of incident and drama’.

The Birmingham Post



‘The concert was brought to a magnificent conclusion with the chamber orchestra in the most capable hands of Ham’.

The Sunday Times of Malta



‘Young conductor James Ham captured all the twists and turns of this furious musical reflection of the abandon and indulgence of these Mediterranean bacchanalia’.

The Journal



‘Er tat es mit spannungsreichem Dirigat, um die höchst unterschiedlichen Stile und Stimmungen der Musiknummern herauszustellen’.