sat 04/07/2020

Opera Reviews

Alice's Adventures Under Ground, Royal Opera review - a blast for children of all ages

David Nice

"About as much fun as you can have with your clothes on," promised a member of the two Royal Opera casts teamworking their way through multiple roles and costume changes for what in effect is Alice's Adventures Under Ground and Through the Looking Glass in under an hour.

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Ermonela Jaho, Stephen Maughan, Wigmore Hall review – emotional honesty in rare repertoire

Sebastian Scotney

Wigmore Hall audiences don’t usually roar. But when a star soprano who has already made her mark at the world’s major opera houses pays a visit, they do.

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Siegfried, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - an incandescent journey to the mountain top

David Nice

Of Wagner's four Ring operas, Siegfried poses the biggest casting problem. Most heroic tenors with the lungs to last the evening are not going to be ideal incarnations of the stroppy adolescent who learns and fights his way through an often nightmarish fairy-tale landscape. Torsten Kerl, not an agile mover to say the least, certainly wasn't.

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Street Scene, Opera North review - a true ensemble achievement

Robert Beale

Kurt Weill’s “Broadway opera” – his own preferred description – is an extraordinary and brilliant piece of work.

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Sukanya, RFH review - Ravi Shankar's bright-eyed, varied fable

David Nice

Admirable as it was of the London Philharmonic Orchestra to launch its concerts in 2020 with a performance celebrating the Ravi Shankar centenary, the hard fact remains that this lively spectacle might have worked better without two-thirds of its players.

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prisoner of the state, Barbican review - beauty, but where is the drama?

alexandra Coghlan

You can see the temptation.

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Best of 2019: Opera

David Nice

There's no question about my top opera choice for 2019, especially since the London houses rarely delivered at the same pitch of engagement. It's Graham Vick's walkabout Birmingham Opera Company spectacular, a production of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk that worked on every level.

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Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

David Nice

"Sadler's Wells! Any more for Peter Grimes, the sadistic fisherman?," a cheery bus conductor is alleged to have called out around the time of this towering masterpiece's premiere in 1945.

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Death in Venice, Royal Opera review – expansive but intimate evocations

Gavin Dixon

Death in Venice is usually a dark and claustrophobic affair. It lends itself to small-scale staging with minimal props and suggestive, low-key lighting. But for this new production at the Royal Opera, director David McVicar has taken a different approach. He has used all the resources at the company’s disposal to create a more expansive vision.

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Orphée, English National Opera review – through a screen darkly

Boyd Tonkin

Like almost everything that it touches these days, English National Opera’s autumn season of shows rooted in the Orpheus myth has enjoyed a fairly mixed reception. The company’s programme of visits to the Underworld concludes with another high-risk journey: Philip Glass’s 1993 opera Orphée, inspired by the 1950 film that Jean Cocteau spun from his own earlier drama on this theme.

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