wed 28/06/2017

Glyndebourne

Ariadne auf Naxos, Glyndebourne review – seriously compelling revival

It’s often said that Ariadne auf Naxos is all about The Composer – not only Richard Strauss but an affectionate parody of his younger self – and Katharina Thoma takes this idea seriously in her Glyndebourne production. In the role, Angela Brower...

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Hamlet, Glyndebourne review - integrity if not genius in Brett Dean's score

Nature’s germens tumble all together rather readily in more recent operatic Shakespeare. Following the overblown storm before the storm of Reimann’s Lear and the premature angst of Ryan Wigglesworth’s The Winter’s Tale, what's rotten in the state of...

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Hipermestra / La Traviata, Glyndebourne

 A Saudi princess in her white wedding dress digs her own grave as men pile up stones to hurl at her head — next, an Isis fighter is stabbing a knife at her neck to decapitate her. Ah, the fate of the heroine of the average baroque ...

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Madama Butterfly, Glyndebourne Tour

What would Glyndebourne, staging Madama Butterfly for the first time, bring to Puccini's most heartbreaking tragedy? Subtle realism, perhaps? Certainly the composer, along with his superb librettists Giacosa and Illica, offers plenty of...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Glyndebourne

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is too other-worldly to have anything as mortal as a musical heartbeat. Pulsing through it instead are musical quivers, jolts of eerie energy first heard in the opening cello glissandi. Denaturing the instrument,...

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Béatrice et Bénédict, Glyndebourne

Locations count for little in most of Shakespeare's comedies. Only a literal-minded director would, for instance, insist on Messina, Sicily as the setting for Much Ado About Nothing. In Béatrice et Bénédict, on the other hand, Berlioz injects his...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, Glyndebourne

Is The Cunning Little Vixen a jolly children’s pantomime, or is it a searching study of issues of life and death, Man and Nature? The answer, naturally, is that it’s both. Children dress up as animals, and sing and prance about. But at the same time...

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Glyndebourne

A celebration of the power of words and music (leaving aside, briefly, that more troubling business about the Fatherland), Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is a natural opener for the summer opera season. Art triumphs over all, but in David...

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The Moderate Soprano, Hampstead Theatre

Remember back when David Hare was left-wing? I’m not sure that he does. Between the affectionate, bittersweet nostalgia of South Downs and now The Moderate Soprano – a stroll through the verdant history of England’s most...

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Ravel Double Bill, Glyndebourne

Ask opera-lovers to name their favourite one-acter and chances are the choice will be L’enfant et les sortilèges. Colette’s typically off-kilter fable of a destructive kid confronted with the objects and animals he’s damaged is set by Maurice...

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Saul, Glyndebourne

I can’t remember a time I felt so profoundly disquieted by a Handel staging. It’s partly that, as an oratorio, Saul breaks so many dramatic rules that lend the operas their reassuring structural certainty, but there’s also something – a tenderness...

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The Rape of Lucretia, Glyndebourne

Britten’s first chamber opera is very much a Glyndebourne piece; its world premiere in the old festival theatre in July 1946 was also the festival’s inaugural post-war production. It brought into being the English Opera Group, and led soon...

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