mon 23/10/2017

Opera Reviews

Written On Skin, Melos Sinfonia, LSO St Luke's review - an ambitious musical achievement

alexandra Coghlan

Beautiful though Katie Mitchell’s original production of Written on Skin is, George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s opera has always felt more at home in the concert hall.

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The World's Wife, Wales Millennium Centre, Weston Studio review - the power and frustration behind the throne

stephen Walsh

How many dead female composers can you name? Tom Green, the composer of this stunning one-woman show, could initially only think of five (I managed thirteen while waiting for the show to start, but then I’ve been around somewhat longer than he has, and knew one or two of them). In any case he soon dug up a few more, and based his score entirely on more or less unrecognisable quotations from their work – or so he claims. 

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Lucy Worsley's Nights at the Opera, BBC Two review - there's anti-elitism, and there's infantilism

jasper Rees

The first thing to say about Lucy Worsley’s Nights at the Opera (BBC Two) is that it is laser-aimed at those who have not enjoyed many nights at the opera. Enjoyed in the sense of attended; also, probably, in the sense of enjoyed.

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Osud/Trouble in Tahiti, Opera North - swings and roundabouts in a surprising double-bill

david Nice

It was a topsy-turvy evening. Sometimes the things you expect to turn out best disappoint, while in this case the relatively small beer yielded a true "Little Great" of a production and the best singing in Opera North's latest double bill (subject to reshuffling during the rest of the run).

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Hansel and Gretel, Pop-Up Opera review - salty-sweet production takes wry pleasure in classic fairytale

alexandra Coghlan

They’ve done it in a boat and a barn, a former poorhouse and even a tunnel shaft, and now Pop-Up Opera bring their latest production to a museum. Bethnal Green’s 19th-century Museum of Childhood provides an evocative frame for Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, its glass display cases and carefully glossed and labelled toys setting the tone for a production that takes a wry, curatorial approach to its material.

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From the House of the Dead, Welsh National Opera review - elderly staging, music comes up fresh

stephen Walsh

This week is Prison Week in the Christian Churches, and it would be nice, if fanciful, to think that WNO programmed their revival of Janáček’s From the House of the Dead with that in mind.

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Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, V&A review - seven cities, seven masterpieces

david Nice

There's something here for everyone, as a "roll up!" slogan for one of the greatest shows in town might put it.

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Dardanus, English Touring Opera review - mixed fortunes for warzone updating

Gavin Dixon

Baroque opera is always a challenge to stage, and Rameau’s Dardanus is no exception. In its original form, the story, of love in times of war, was infused with allegorical characters and mythological scenes. It flopped, and so Rameau and a new librettist thoroughly revised the work to focus more on the human drama.

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Khovanshchina/Eugene Onegin, Welsh National Opera review - Russian revivals strong and weak

stephen Walsh

About Khovanshchina I once had serious doubts. Leaving aside its unfinished condition, it always struck me as what Wagnerians would call a bleeding chunk of history, unstructured, confused, over-researched and dramaturgically obscure.

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Cavalleria Rusticana/Trial by Jury, Opera North review - sombre triumph and pale froth

graham Rickson

Pairing Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury makes for a pleasingly schizoid evening in the latest of Opera North's The Little Greats series.

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