sat 13/04/2024

Opera Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Tenor Stuart Skelton

alexandra Coghlan

Described variously in the press as "virile", an "Aryan hunk" and a "great blond bear" of a man, Stuart Skelton may be the physical embodiment of machismo, but there's nothing of the beefcake about his singing. A Heldentenor of rare beauty and lyricism, Skelton's rise to operatic fame may have come young, but his is a voice and a career that looks set to stay the course.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Opera Singer Sir Thomas Allen

Jasper Rees

The landmarks continue to mount for Sir Thomas Allen (b. 1944). Awarded the CBE 22 years ago and knighted a decade later, the great lyric baritone notched up his 50th role at Covent Garden in 2009 and this week in Cosi Fan Tutte he celebrates 40 years with the Royal Opera House. In the same week he takes up his new appointment as Chancellor of the University of Durham. Indeed, although he has sung everything from Monteverdi to Onegin to negro spirituals, in his speaking voice he...

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Q&A Special: Bass Sir John Tomlinson, Part 2

ASH Smyth

A legend on the operatic stage, Sir John Tomlinson (CBE) has sung with all the major British opera companies, made countless recordings, and for sixteen years was a fixture at Bayreuth, where he performed leading roles in each of Wagner's epic works. Throughout his career he has worked regularly with English National Opera and with The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, where in 2008 he created the title role in Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur.

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Q&A Special: Bass Sir John Tomlinson, Part 1

ASH Smyth

Next week Sir John Tomlinson (b 1946), renowned mega-bass and routine frequenter of the Covent Garden stage, appears in concert at the Windsor Festival. It is a picturesque halt on a career that sees him circling the world's greatest opera houses in the most epic roles in opera.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Susan Bullock

alexandra Coghlan

It may have taken her until 2005 to get her Wigmore Hall debut, until 2006 to break onto the stage of the Royal Opera House, but at 53 Susan Bullock has finally arrived, claiming the crown of soloist for this year’s Last Night of the Proms, a firm foothold at Covent Garden and her rightful place as Britain’s finest dramatic soprano. For a singer who “started singing by mistake”, whose musical training began in a council house in Cheshire on a piano rescued from the local rubbish dump, it’s...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Stage Designer Es Devlin

Hilary Whitney

For the past five years British stage designer Es Devlin has been creating extraordinarily ambitious and imaginative sets for some of the biggest crowd-pullers in the music industry, from Take That to Lady Gaga. But this week she returns to her theatrical roots with a new play, Pieces of Vincent, by David Watson at the small but prestigious Arcola Theatre in London.

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Sir Charles Mackerras, 1925-2010

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Sir Charles Mackerras has died at the age of 84. In tribute to one of the most highly respected and best-loved of conductors, theartsdesk republishes here an interview he gave on the eve of conducting Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw for the English National Opera last October. Despite bouts of ill health, he found time to talk about his friendship - and falling out - with Britten, his time conducting the opera under Britten's watchful eye, his experiences...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Semyon Bychkov

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Yesterday afternoon, Semyon Bychkov's recording of Lohengrin won BBC Music Magazine's prestigious disc of the year. Last year, The Sunday Telegraph named his recording of Eugene Onegin one of the top 10 opera recordings of all time. Proof - if proof were needed - that the Russian conductor is one of the living greats of the operatic pit. His upcoming Tannhäuser next season at Covent Garden is awaited with bated breath.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Opera Directors Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser

Jasper Rees

It is rare enough for directors to collaborate in theatre, even rarer in opera. Patrice Caurier (b. Paris, 1954) and Moshe Leiser (b. Antwerp, 1956) began their long collaboration in their 20s. They are now in their 50s, and since that first production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Opéra de Lyon in 1982, they have never worked (or lived) apart. Cohabiting and collaborating, they are opera’s closest equivalent to Gilbert and George.

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Interview: Opera and Theatre Director Luc Bondy

Jasper Rees

Last September Luc Bondy watched his name speed around the world, if not for the most desirable reasons. His Tosca opened the season at the Met, a more grounded, less opulent replacement for one of the opera house’s many much loved productions by Franco Zeffirelli. As Bondy walked onstage to take his directorial bow, a chorus of boos crescendoed from the audience.

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