thu 21/09/2017

opera directors

Edinburgh Festival 2017 review: Verdi's Macbeth - exhilarating and overwhelming

Skeletal horses; piles of newborn babies smothered in a bloody sheet; a whole garden centre of prickly pears. There’s no denying that Italian director Emma Dante’s new production of Verdi’s Macbeth, which Turin’s Teatro Regio brings to the Edinburgh...

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Buxton Festival review - early Verdi, earlier Mozart and refreshing Britten

“The subject is neither political nor religious; it is fantastical” wrote Verdi to the librettist Piave about his opera Macbeth. “The opera is not about the rise of a modern fascist: nor is it about political tyranny. It is a study in character”...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Snape Maltings

It’s all there in the first few bars of Britten’s music – that unsettling tension between beauty and familiarity, and eerie, undefinable otherness. Those cello glissandi might end in glowing major chords, but the tentacle-like slides throw them into...

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Bluebeard's Castle & The 8th Door, Scottish Opera

What to pair with Bluebeard’s Castle? It’s always a dilemma for opera companies. Something lightweight, even comic, provides contrast but also risks trivialising Bartók’s dark, symbolist drama. Something equally brooding risks submerging the...

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The Golden Dragon, Music Theatre Wales, Buxton Festival

It’s the kitchen of a Thai-Chinese-Vietnamese fast food restaurant. The onstage orchestra wear sweatbands and T-shirts, and a red work surface stretches across the stage. As the four chefs take the stage, the clatter of pans and knives is first...

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Best of 2015: Opera

How ironic that English National Opera turned out possibly the two best productions of the year after the Arts Council had done its grant-cutting worst, punishing the company simply, it seemed, for not being the irrationally preferred Royal Opera....

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Orlando, Welsh National Opera

It’s almost impossible to imagine what a Handel opera performance can have been like in London in the 1730s, when Orlando first appeared. The audience came primarily to hear their favourite singers: and these must have been sensational, if not...

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Listed: Essential Operas 2015-16

September is upon us and it’s nearly time for the new season. English National Opera’s Artistic Director John Berry may have left the building but his enterprising legacy lives on in a 2015-16 season that looks on paper as good as any in the past 20...

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theartsdesk in Aix: Dreaming on

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens with creepy glissandi emanating from the pit like nocturnal spirits. There is no mention in the score – this is an educated guess – for the chirrup of swifts and the hoot of wood pigeons, but this avian...

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theartsdesk in Aix-en-Provence: Let's make a Euro-opera

It’s a brilliantly sunny January afternoon amidst a general drama of rain at an industrial park outside Aix-en-Provence, and members of a production team are gathering for the first time in the back yard of the festival’s rehearsal studios. Some...

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Opinion: Where's the crisis at ENO?

Having been bowled over by the total work of art English National Opera made of Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg on its first night, I bought tickets immediately afterwards for the final performance. So I’m off tonight to catch the farewell...

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Glare, Linbury Studio Theatre

Søren Nils Eichberg’s new opera Glare is advertised as a “taut” thriller. It’s actually a short thriller. Big difference.The question of whether or not opera – a medium that wouldn’t win any prizes for sprinting –  can successfully pull off a...

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