fri 19/04/2019

Opera Reviews

La Traviata, Longborough Festival review - muddled director, vocal mixed bag

stephen Walsh

One wearies of quarrelling with opera directors’ concepts. But what’s the alternative? To ignore or acquiesce in crude, approximate reimaginings that, like Daisy Evans's new La Traviata at Longborough, stuff a work any old how into some snappy, after-dinner parody that says nothing useful about the piece, vulgarises the situations and confuses or misrepresents the text. 

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The Abduction from the Seraglio, The Grange Festival review - enjoyable if conventional production

Bernard Hughes

Just as the Last Night of the Proms is an end-of-term party with a concert tacked on, The Grange Festival (like other similar venues) offers a massive picnic interspersed with some opera.

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theartsdesk in Paris - following in the footsteps of Gounod

alexandra Coghlan

It’s a truism that history is written by the victors, but nowhere in classical music is the argument made more persuasively than in the legacy and reputation of Charles Gounod.

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The Path to Heaven, RNCM, Manchester review - tragedy, truth, passion

Robert Beale

Adam Gorb’s The Path to Heaven, with libretto by Ben Kaye, is his longest work to date (almost two hours’ running time without interval) and on a story that could hardly be more tragic – the Holocaust.

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Kiss Me, Kate, Opera North, London Coliseum review - Cole Porter delivered in true company style

David Nice

First palpable hit of the evening: a full orchestra in the pit under hyper-alert Opera North stalwart James Holmes, saxophones deliciously rampant. Second hit: they've got the miking of the voices right (very rare in West End shows). Third: the first ensemble number, "Another opening, another show", sends spirits soaring.

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Falstaff, Garsington Opera review - Sir John under pressure

Sebastian Scotney

All those pranks, set-ups, fake letters and disguises, they just keep coming thick and fast in Verdi’s Falstaff. The score has irresistible energy and momentum.

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Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, Opera North, City Varieties Music Hall review - life as a cabaret

graham Rickson

Peer at the small print and it’s clear that Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill is actually a spruced-up repackaging of a show originally devised by Gene Lerner and arranger Newton Wayland, about whom Opera North’s programme tells us nothing.

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Mamzer Bastard, Royal Opera, Hackney Empire review - inert Hasidic music-drama

David Nice

Striking it lucky with a successful new opera is a rare occurrence, though every company has a duty to keep on trying.

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Acis and Galatea, English National Opera, Lilian Baylis House review - Handel for the hashtag generation

alexandra Coghlan

If you go to ENO’s Acis and Galatea expecting a grassy knoll draped decoratively with a Watteau shepherdess or two then you may be disappointed.

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Roscoe, BBC Philharmonic, Mena, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a scenic send-off

Robert Beale

Juanjo Mena, chief conductor of Manchester's BBC Philharmonic for the past seven years, took his official leave of them with a programme reflecting his great love, the music of his Spanish homeland.

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