fri 19/08/2022

Opera Reviews

Luisa Miller, Glyndebourne review – small-scale tragedy, big emotions

David Nice

“Time-travelling” is how Enrique Mazzola, the superb first conductor of Glyndebourne’s last new production of the main season, described the slow-burn trajectory of Verdi’s semi-masterpiece Luisa Miller in his First Person here on theartsdesk.

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The Cunning Little Vixen, Longborough Festival Opera review - life, death and the menopause in the forest

stephen Walsh

There are advantages and disadvantages about opera-in-the-round, and it’s a format that suits some operas better than others. Longborough’s Cunning Little Vixen, staged by Olivia Fuchs in their new big-top tent, makes the very most of the advantages and pushes the disadvantages into the shade, without entirely obliterating them. It’s a lively show, very well sung, cleverly, energetically acted and directed; but the problems, of which more below, refuse quite to go away.

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Opera in Song, Opera Holland Park review – world-class singers in a brilliant recital triptych

David Nice

Now that the summer opera-house companies have pulled off staged triumphs under the most difficult of circumstances, it’s time to celebrate semi-al-fresco concerts. Not so many have cropped up as I’d hoped after the success of the Battersea Park Bandstand Chamber Music series last year.

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Le Comte Ory, Garsington Opera review - high musical style and broad dramatic comedy

David Nice

Play it straight and you’ll get more laughs: that’s the standard advice on great operatic comedies like the masterpieces of the Gilbert & Sullivan canon, Britten’s Albert Herring, Verdi’s Falstaff, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.

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Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance, Royal Opera review – breathtaking young talent

David Nice

Instant sell-out would have been guaranteed if the Royal Opera had advertised this as “Cardiff Singer of the World finalist Masabane and fellow Young Artists”. No doubt about it, South African soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha is indeed the most polished performer, crying out star quality in every move and note....

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Il ritorno d'Ulisse, Longborough Festival Opera review - gods and grunge on the long journey home

Richard Bratby

They showed Clash of the Titans the other night – not the wretched remake, but the original 1981 sword-and-sandals cheesefest, complete with Ray Harryhausen’s Kraken, Ursula Andress as Aphrodite and that rip-roaring Laurence Rosenthal score.

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L'amico Fritz, Opera Holland Park review - slow-burning love, Italian style

David Nice

“If this is love, then why have I fought it?” The stock romantic-comedy prevarications had a Greenwich Village setting in Bernstein’s Wonderful Town at Opera Holland Park less than two weeks ago. Last night, the place was nominally Alsace but the style totally Italianate.

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The Barber of Seville, Clonter Opera Theatre review - youthful enthusiasm triumphs

Robert Beale

Harnessing the enthusiasm of youth has always been what Clonter Opera, on a farm in Cheshire, is about with its summer productions. The house is relatively small (there’s always a reduced orchestration as accompaniment), and the idea is that promising young voices can get a chance to try their luck with an audience and learn in the process.

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The Cunning Little Vixen, Opera Holland Park review - imagine the forest, enjoy the music-making

David Nice

Gorgeous woodland romp, a tale of a vivacious, independent-minded young lady-into-fox objectified by three ageing, disillusioned men or a parable of natural regeneration? The different levels of Janáček’s one-off fantasy, from strip-cartoon origins to wise philosophy, are hard to hold in balance.

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Dido’s Ghost, Buxton International Festival review - the Queen of Carthage returns

Robert Beale

“Remember me!”, sang Dido to a departed Aeneas in the heart-rending aria-chaconne announcing her demise that dominates the ending of Purcell’s baroque opera. But what if he did … if in fact he never could forget her?

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