wed 15/08/2018

Opera Reviews

A Midsummer Night's Dream, ENO review - shiveringly beautiful Britten

David Benedict

“What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?” Hang on a minute, Tytania, there are no flowers. Instead, as Britten’s ominously low strings slither and tremble up and down the scale, the curtain rises on a huge, near-acidic emerald green hilly slope lying against a seemingly fathomless International Klein Blue cyclorama broken only by a glowing crescent moon. Except it’s not just a hill: it’s also a giant bed; the perfect bed, in fact, in which to spend one wonderful midsummer’s night.

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Dialogues des Carmélites, Guildhall School review - calm and humane drama of faith

Sebastian Scotney

One question dominates any staging of Dialogues des Carmélites. How will the production team deal with the cruelty and tragedy in the 12th and last scene when all of the nuns, one by one, go through with their vow of martyrdom and calmly proceed to the guillotine, singing the Salve Regina?

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La Vie Parisienne, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire review - vintage champagne in a new bottle

Richard Bratby

Don’t you just love that new concert hall smell?

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Dead Man Walking, Barbican review - timely and devastating meditation on human violence and forgiveness

alexandra Coghlan

You have to wonder why it has taken this long. Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking premiered in San Francisco back in 2000 and has since been performed over 300 times across the world, staged everywhere from Cape Town to Copenhagen.

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Flight, Scottish Opera review - poignant and powerful, this production soars

Miranda Heggie

Inspired by the astonishing true story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian refugee who lived in Charles de Gaulle Airport for 18 years, Jonathan Dove’s Flight is a humorous, touching, uplifting yet profoundly poignant study into human relationships, interactions and emotions. This is opera buffa for the modern age – relevant, relatable, lighthearted and often downright silly, but still revealing some very pertinent truths.

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Iolanthe, English National Opera review - bright and beautiful G&S for all

David Nice

Very well, so ENO's latest Gilbert and Sullivan spectacular was originally to have been The Gondoliers directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Mark Wigglesworth.

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Un ballo in maschera, Opera North review - decent, no more

graham Rickson

You’d expect a degree of mischief and bafflement in an opera about mistaken identity, closing with a scene set at a masked ball. But Tim Albery’s new Opera North Un ballo in maschera is confusing for the wrong reasons, its shortcomings all the more irritating compared how good the performance actually sounds.

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Tosca, Welsh National Opera review - ticking the traditionalist boxes

stephen Walsh

Opera-lovers: if you’ve finally had enough of the wheelchairs and syringes, the fifties skirts and heels, the mobile phones and the white box sets, and the rest of the symbolic paraphernalia of the right-on modern opera production, pop along to the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and catch up with Michael Blakemore’s...

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Carmen, Royal Opera review - clever concept, patchy singing, sexy dancing

David Nice

Roll up, dépêchez-vous, for Carmen the - what? Circus? Vaudeville/music-hall/cabaret? Opéra-ballet, post-Rameau? Not, certainly, a show subject to the kind of updated realism which has been applied by just about every production other than the previous two at Covent Garden.

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La forza del destino, Welsh National Opera review - rambling drama, fine music

stephen Walsh

David Pountney’s tenure at WNO has been an almost unqualified success, despite some eccentricities of repertoire and a certain obstinacy in the matter of new commissions. His own productions have included at least three of unforgettable quality.

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