fri 17/08/2018

Opera Buzz

Cinderella goes to the square

David Nice Joyce DiDonato's Cendrillon goes to meet her Prince Charming - and out into Trafalgar Square

Sweetheart American mezzo Joyce DiDonato stayed firmly behind the proscenium arch for yesterday evening's Royal Opera performance of Massenet's Cendrillon - reviewed by theartsdesk on its opening night - but another Covent Garden regular, former ballerina and non-irritant presenter Deborah Bull, was soon schmoozing the crowds in...

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Opera North U-turn once "queer" is changed to "gay"

ismene Brown

The Yorkshire aphorism, "There's nowt so queer as folks", might have been coined to describe the row. The alteration of a single word in a community opera wracked by furore over claimed homophobia has saved it from being banned. Opera North has announced that Beached, a project with children written by Lee Hall (writer of Billy Elliot), will go ahead next week after all.

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Why Ticciati will be great for Glyndebourne

David Nice Robin Ticciati with the score of Janáček's Jenůfa at a Glyndebourne study day, 2009

Robin the boy wonder, as he was somewhat patronisingly dubbed during his prodigious rise to conducting stardom, will make a bracing Batman for Glyndebourne Festival Opera when he takes over from current music director Vladimir Jurowski in January 2014.

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Opera North: not homophobic, just craven?

David Nice All inclusive by the Northern seaside?

The kerfuffle over the collapse of a community opera, Beached, to a libretto by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall with music by Harvey Brough, seems to have gone international. In short, the main school in the Bridlington area fielding 300 participants withdrew when Hall refused to change the lines (sung by an adult in the piece): "Of course I'm queer/ That's why I left here/ So if you infer/ That I prefer/ A lad to a lass/ And I'm working class/ I'd have to concur".

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Dream again

David Nice

It's not often that we in the critical world revisit a production towards the end of a run to see how it's settled. I had two reasons for wanting to return to Christopher Alden's English National Opera production of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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What's your title? This is the ROYAL Opera House

ismene Brown

The Royal Opera House prides itself on knowing exactly who is registering on its mailing services, and just how high-class they are. Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Dr, really can’t cover the possibilities. Hence the hilarity greeting their online registering process, which offers no fewer than 132 options for your title - which it is mandatory to fill in.

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The teenage Liszt's song for Europe

David Nice Young Liszt in 1824, the year he was commissioned to write his only opera, by Leprince

For last year's Europe Day concert, presidency-holder Spain fielded a Paco Peña showstopper in what's for the past three years been the venue of choice, St John's, Smith Square. This 9 May, the Hungarians' six-month stint yielded not a wow-factor spectacular - for me, that would have been a knees-up with violinist Gaby...

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Covent Garden and Thomas Allen remember Robert Tear

David Nice Master of ceremonies: Robert Tear in a late cameo role in the Royal Opera production of Smetana's 'The Bartered Bride'

Last night the programme for the Royal Opera's current production of Fidelio included a special tribute to that most characterful of tenors, Robert Tear, who died this week at the age of 72. Only...

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David Pountney to head Welsh National Opera

David Nice

After what must seem like a long exile, the opera director with one of the most distinctive track records in the business is to return as chief executive of a company which has been on fitful form recently. As, it must be said, has Pountney's recent history after the celebrated "powerhouse" era at English National Opera alongside Mark Elder and Peter Jonas.

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Summary of main Arts Council winners and losers

ismene Brown

A sliderule of 11-15 per cent reductions in annual grants by 2015, compared with this year, has been applied to Britain's major orchestras, opera, dance, theatre and music organisations. One major gainer is London's Barbican Centre - one major loser is the now world-famous Almeida Theatre, which loses almost 40 per cent of its current annual subsidy despite its reputation for innovation and discovery. However, the Arcola Theatre, another small innovative theatre, gets a big boost.

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