sun 14/04/2024

Opera Reviews

Turandot, Royal Opera review - spectacle and sound wow in this significant revival

David Nice

Nearly 40 years old, Andrei Serban’s Royal Opera Turandot feels like a gilded relic (I felt like a relic myself on learning that my writer neighbour wasn’t born when I saw Gwyneth Jones as the ice princess in 1984). Yet so too, outwardly, did Puccini’s only really grand opera when it premiered in the 1920s, exoticism being mostly confined to operettas and musicals. What keeps it modern is the score, which made it vital to hear what Antonio Pappano had to say with it.

Read more...

La bella dormente nel bosco/L'enfant et les sortilèges, Royal College of Music review - pure theatrical magic

alexandra Coghlan

Childhood fantasies and adult fears – sometimes it’s a fine line between the two. And it’s one that director Liam Steel walks with unerring precision in his ravishing new double-bill for the Royal College of Music: an overflowing toybox of invention and imagination that conceals, right at the bottom, something rather nasty and very real indeed.

Read more...

Blaze of Glory!, Welsh National Opera review - sparkling entertainment up the valleys

stephen Walsh

Like certain other opera companies, WNO has leant in recent years towards popular shows of one kind or another. In their case this is not mere pandering to the Valleys coach parties, but a genuine attempt to assert an identity through an exploration of local south Welsh history. 

Read more...

Der Rosenkavalier, Irish National Opera review - world-class delight

David Nice

Silver rose, golden voices. Richard Strauss calls for four of the best: two sopranos and a mezzo for the love-triangle that develops between a 17-year-old Count, his 32-year-old lover and the girl he falls for at first sight; a bass as one of opera’s strongest if queasiest comic creations, Baron Ochs, Viennese Falstaff, debaucher of maidservants and country girls.

Read more...

The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera review - Mozart remodelled and remuddled

stephen Walsh

So why not rewrite The Magic Flute with a new text and a heavily reconstructed plot?

Read more...

In The Realms of Sorrow, London Handel Festival, Stone Nest review - disappointed love has all the best tunes

Rachel Halliburton

Raw, muscular, visceral, haunting – this was Handel as you’ve never experienced him before. In this striking entry for the London Handel Festival,  an uncompromising production by Adele Thomas with conductor Laurence Cummings took four of the composer’s early cantatas about thwarted love and mined them for all their incandescent rage and poisoned wistfulness.

Read more...

Giulio Cesare, English Touring Opera review - a return visit to Handel's Egypt

Gavin Dixon

English Touring Opera opened its spring season with Handel's Giulio Cesare – not a new production, but in a new guise. Typically for Baroque opera, the version of the work premiered in 1724 was very long. ETO previously took up the challenge by staging it in full over two nights. They then cut it down to a more manageable three hours (including interval), but that tour was interrupted by Covid, so now it's back for a full run.

Read more...

Rusalka, Royal Opera review - ravishing sounds, torpid staging

David Nice

Psychological depths in the myth of the water nymph who yearns for the human world, with disastrous results, have led to some unusual settings for Dvořák’s operatic masterpiece on the theme: a nursery, a hotel room (both successful), a brothel (not so much). What, though, when a production returns to the fairy-tale, developing at the same time the ecological devastation implied in the opera?

Read more...

The Rhinegold, English National Opera review - tacky, edgy, brilliant

David Nice

All that glitters, titular treasure included, is dangerous childsplay in Richard Jones’s third UK staging of what Wagner called the “preliminary evening” to the three main operas of The Ring of the Nibelung. It’s nothing like the previous two, for the Royal and Scottish Operas, in some ways disconcertingly minimal and occasionally ugly to look at. Yet everything adds up and unlike the cast for his Valkyrie, this team has the perfect mix of vocal and acting gold.

Read more...

Ariadne auf Naxos, Opera North review - funny and beautifully sung

Robert Beale

Rodula Gaitanou’s production of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos is a hugely entertaining treatment of an opera that brings its fair share of problems to any company, and the chief virtue of Opera North’s presentation (a co-production with Gothenburg Opera, now seen in the UK for the first time) is the wonderfully well suited casting.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Music Reissues Weekly: Congo Funk! - Sound Madness From The...

Brazzaville is on the north side of the Congo River. It is the capital of the Republic of the Congo. Kinshasa is on the south side of the Congo....

First Person: Leeds Lieder Festival director and pianist Jos...

Everyone needs friends and everything is connected. As we throw the doors open on to the 2024 Leeds Lieder Festival I am struck by just how...

Ellie Goulding, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Royal...

For a singer so often sampled in electronic dance music, it’s a high-end...

Album: A Certain Ratio - It All Comes Down to This

After a long period of relative inactivity, the last five years has had A Certain Ratio getting the bit between their teeth, trying out new sounds...

Back to Black review - rock biopic with a loving but soft to...

Sam Taylor-Johnson has fashioned her biopic of Amy Winehouse with great care and affection, but sometimes, as she shows her subject...

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Philharmonia Chorus, RPO, Petrenko, RFH...

Purple patches flourished in the first half of this admirable programme: it could hardly have been otherwise given Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s devotion...

Six Chick Flicks, Leicester Square Theatre review - funny, f...

Spoofing movies or movie genres has been done before, but Six Chick Flicks goes the extra mile. It's a funny, frenetic and...

Civil War review - God help America

Alex Garland’s fourth movie as writer/director is a chilling glimpse of an...

The Teachers' Lounge - teacher-pupil relationships unde...

The Teachers’ Lounge should really have been translated into English as The Staffroom, but that’s a minor gripe. Focussing on a...