sat 02/08/2014

Royal Opera House

Ariadne auf Naxos, Royal Opera

Can it really be 12 years since Antonio Pappano inaugurated his transformative era as the Royal Opera’s Music Director conducting Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos? Christof Loy’s production seemed so radical at the time. We were put off our guard by...

Read more...

Manon Lescaut, Royal Opera

Puccini’s racy first masterpiece, like its successor La bohème, should feel like an opera of two halves – the first full of youthful exuberance, the second darker and ultimately tragic. The contrast here, alas, was between vivacious performers and a...

Read more...

Die Frau ohne Schatten, Royal Opera

The big message of The Woman Without a Shadow, brushing aside the narrower, moral majority preaching that you’re incomplete without children, seems clear: fulfillment can’t be bought at the cost of another’s suffering. Yet the path towards that...

Read more...

Kiri at 70

Even more deserving of the sobriquet “the beautiful voice” than Renée Fleming, the natural successor who virtually copyrighted it, Kiri te Kanawa was one of the great sopranos of the 20th century. With those big, candid brown eyes and bone structure...

Read more...

Don Giovanni, Royal Opera

If you don’t believe in the angels, or at least the good, of Don Giovanni, don’t stage it. Mozart may well be telling us, as Kasper Holten partly seems to be, that the antihero is a void, a mask-wearer and a creature of thrusting appetites, on his...

Read more...

Manon, Royal Opera

Massenet had just two lingering thoughts about Manon when he wrote his memoirs in 1910, a quarter-century after the opera's first performance. First, he enjoyed reminding himself how many times it had been performed (a staggering 763 by the...

Read more...

Jewels, Royal Ballet

It has been said that Mozart, so prodigiously talented so young, seemed to be merely a vessel through which God, or the music of the spheres, or whichever higher being one chooses, channelled the sounds of heaven. So, too, sometimes, does Balanchine...

Read more...

Parsifal, Royal Opera

Is anyone else sick of creepy brotherhoods skewering the transcendent in Mozart’s and Wagner’s late operas? Both Sarastro’s cult and the company of the grail are in sore need of change - "fresh blood" would be an unfortunate term under the...

Read more...

Wozzeck, Royal Opera

You could hardly ask for a better cast than the one assembled for this short run of Wozzeck at the Royal Opera House: Simon Keenlyside in the title role, Karita Mattila, John Tomlinson, Mark Elder in the pit. And at a top price of £65, with many...

Read more...

The Killing Flower, Linbury Studio Theatre

In this classical anniversary year we’ve had masses of Wagner and Verdi, plenty of Britten (and still more Britten) but not much has been heard of 2013’s other birthday-boy, the notorious Carlo Gesualdo – prince, priest, composer and murderer. Best...

Read more...

Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Royal Opera

First fanfare had to be for the Royal Opera House’s main gambit in Verdi bicentenary year, staging its first ever Sicilian Vespers 158 years after the Paris premiere. Any of Verdi’s operas from Rigoletto onwards deserves the red carpet treatment,...

Read more...

Don Quixote, Royal Ballet

The opening night of the autumn season brings a gala first night, Carlos Acosta’s staging of Petipa’s Hispano-Russo-Austro-Hungarische castanet-fest, Don Quixote, with starry leads (Marianela Nuñez and Acosta himself), a very obviously expensive new...

Read more...
Syndicate content