sat 23/09/2017

Scottish Opera

BambinO / Last And First Men, Manchester International Festival

The Manchester International Festival – a biennale of new creative work – this year has a new artistic director in John McGrath, and there’s no large-scale new opera or prominent "classical" work, it would seem, other than Raymond Yiu’s song cycle,...

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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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Best of 2016: Opera

It was the best and worst of years for English National Opera. Best, because principals, chorus and orchestra seem united in acclaiming their Music Director of 14 months, Mark Wigglesworth, for his work at a level most had only dreamed of (“from the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Beshevli, Gershwin, Gilbert & Sullivan

Ilya Beshevli: Wanderer (Village Green)Siberian musician Ilya Beshevli's background will resonate with anyone who's resented learning an instrument. The son of a composer and a musicologist, Beshevli grew to dislike his enforced piano lessons,...

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Rusalka, Scottish Opera

For the gentleman next to me in the Festival Theatre, this was his second outing to see Rusalka. At the production premiere earlier this month in Glasgow, he had been “blown away” by Dvořák's lyric masterpiece. Given half a chance, I would go back...

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Ariodante, Scottish Opera

In the end, it’s all about the oranges. They adorn the programme that accompanies Harry Fehr’s intelligent new production of Handel’s Ariodante for Scottish Opera. More importantly, they’re prominent in designer Yannis Thavoris’s clinical steel-and-...

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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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Il Trovatore, Scottish Opera

"The darkness deceived me," sings Leonora in Act I as she mistakenly rushes into the arms of the Count di Luna, rather than those of her beloved, the mysterious troubador Manrico who’s been serenading her for nights on end. Seeing Robert B Dickson’s...

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Jenůfa, Scottish Opera

Even at the tragic heart of Janáček's Jenůfa there is ambiguity. As the Kostelnička or village sacristan takes her stepdaughter Jenůfa’s baby boy outside to drown it in the icy river, you cannot quite be sure whether she is motivated by...

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The Pirates of Penzance, Scottish Opera, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Of all the Savoy operas, this merry clash of pirates, policemen and a Major-General flanked by an entire chorus of loving daughters finds Sullivan most in tune with the mid-19th century Italian opera he so lovingly spoofs. So why can’t Martin Lloyd-...

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Regional Opera, 2012 Season

Popular operatic love stories by Puccini, Wagner and Mozart dominate the regional scene in 2012, but key talents like producer Tim Albery in Leeds, Lothar Koenigs in Cardiff and David McVicar in Glasgow all promise significant stage experiences....

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Fidelio, Opera North, Leeds Grand Theatre

Steven Harrison as Florestan (left) and Emma Bell as Leonore (right)

Unpleasant feelings of confinement and claustrophobia hit you when the curtain rises after Beethoven’s disconcertingly jolly overture; one small room is visible on stage, framed by black curtains. The sun shines oppressively through the barred...

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