tue 13/11/2018

Opera Reviews

War and Peace, Welsh National Opera review - an Operation Barbarossa that comes off

stephen Walsh

What lunatic would ever have the idea of turning War and Peace into an opera? Well, maybe if you, a composer, had found yourself in Moscow in June 1941 when news of the German invasion reached the Soviet capital, you might have decided to mount an Operation Barbarossa of your own, and that’s in all but name what Prokofiev did. The project occupied him on and off for the rest of his life (he died in 1953 on the same day as Stalin), and it never quite reached a definitive form.

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Tosca, Opera North review - exciting update, strong on sonic thrills

graham Rickson

Puccini’s Tosca isn’t a subtle work, and this, Opera North’s fourth production since the company’s founding in 1978, is occasionally too loud and crude. But it’s undeniably powerful.

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The Rake's Progress, British Youth Opera review - perfect poise in slippery Stravinsky

David Nice

So it's been sellouts for half-baked if well-cast productions of The Rake's Progress and now Britten's Paul Bunyan at Wilton's Music Hall, while British Youth Opera's classy Stravinsky in the admittedly larger Peacock Theatre, several hundred yards away from the Hogarth Rake paintings in Sir John Soane's Museum, played to a half-empty house, last night, at least.

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Prom 71, DiDonato, Tamestit, ORR, Gardiner review - concert Berlioz as bracing theatre

David Nice

How do you make your mark in a crucial last week after the Olympian spectaculars of Kirill Petrenko's Proms with the Berlin Philharmonic?

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Paul Bunyan, ENO, Wilton's Music Hall review - talent cabined and confined

David Nice

It's Britten outside-in time for English National Opera. Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, which played host earlier this year to an only partially convincing production of his 1950s masterpiece The Turn of the Screw, would have been the perfect choice for the prelapsarian American forests of his pre-Grimes operetta/musical Paul Bunyan.

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Vanessa, Glyndebourne review - blowsy histrionics and a great finale

David Nice

"Sounds like an opera by Handel," said a friend when I told him that I was going to see Vanessa at Glyndebourne.

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Proms 25 / 26 review - Russian masters, noodling guitar, late-night perfection

David Nice

Sometimes the more modestly scaled Proms work best in the Albert Hall. Not that there was anything but vast ambition and electrifying communication from soprano Anna Prohaska and the 17-piece Il Giardino Armonico under Giovanni Antonini, making that 18 when he chose to take up various pipes (★★★★★).

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SWAP'ra Gala, Opera Holland Park review - all-women stars and scenes

David Nice

Two women, Julia Sporsén's female Composer and Jennifer France's Zerbinetta in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, stole most hearts with their togetherness at Holland Park recently.

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Pagliacci, Scottish Opera review - roll up, roll up for opera like never before!

Miranda Heggie

Yes it’s opera, but not as you know it.

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Saul, Glyndebourne review - from extravaganza to phantasmagoria

David Nice

It's swings and roundabouts for Glyndebourne this season. After the worst of one director currently in fashion, Stefan Herheim, in the unhappy mésalliance of the house's Pelléas et Mélisande, only musically gripping, comes the already-known best of another, Barrie Kosky.

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