sun 25/08/2019

Opera Reviews

Die Walküre, Royal Opera review – putting family before sex

Peter Quantrill

Perched alone and fearful in her hut as the curtain rises on Die Walküre, Sieglinde clutches and then throws aside a grimy teddy-bear. Story time is over. The nymphs and gold and bickering gods all belong in the past, to the ‘preliminary evening’ of Das Rheingold, or so Sieglinde might think. The real drama of Wagner's Ring begins here.

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Das Rheingold, Royal Opera review - high drama and dark comedy

Gavin Dixon

Keith Warner’s production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen was first seen at Covent Garden between 2004 and 2006, and is now back for a third and final series of full runs, chiefly to catch the Brünnhilde of Nina Stemme in three of the operas, continuing into November.

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Isouard's Cendrillon, Bampton Classical Opera review - stepsisters shine in fairy-tale bagatelle

David Nice

Cinderella as opera in French: of late, the palm has always gone to Massenet's adorable (as in a-dor-Ah-bler) confection, and it should again soon when Glyndebourne offers a worthy home to the master's magic touch.

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Parsifal, Saffron Opera Group review - drama and focus

Gavin Dixon

It is a pleasure to report on the continuing success of the Saffron Opera Wagner project. The organisation was formed in 2013, and since then has presented concert performances of the Ring cycle and Meistersinger, and now Parsifal, all with an amateur orchestra and chorus and a cast of mostly lesser-known professionals.

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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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