sun 03/03/2024

English Touring Opera

Manon Lescaut, English Touring Opera review - a nightmare in too many ways

Opera in Britain is currently cursed by funders, politicians and ideologues – of right and left – who heartily detest the form. Alas, some directors do their work for them with interpretations seemingly designed to undermine the very art they are...

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Best of 2023: Opera

Choosing a limited best seems almost meaningless when even simply the seven operatic experiences I've relished in the run-up to Christmas (nothing seasonal) deserve a place in the sun. But in a year which has seen Arts Council devastation versus...

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

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...

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Tamerlano, English Touring Opera review - the darker side of Handel

During the final act of Tamerlano, James Conway’s new production for English Touring Opera has the titular tyrant lead a captive king around the stage on a chain. Given the oppressive, deadlocked mood of Handel’s opera and this interpretation, you...

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St John Passion, English Touring Opera, Lichfield Cathedral review - free-range Bach doesn't quite add up

JS Bach’s Passions as music theatre? Well, why not? Whatever the aura of untouchability around these works, they were always conceived as part of a bigger picture: a communal sacred ritual in which the divide between performer and audience wasn’t so...

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The Golden Cockerel, English Touring Opera review - no crowing over this henhouse

A plea to anyone who was seeing Rimsky-Korsakov’s last opera for the first time at the Hackney Empire: please don’t give up on ever seeing or listening to it again, as some I spoke to afterwards said they just had. I promise you, the fault lies in...

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Romances on British Poetry / The Poet's Echo, English Touring Opera online review - Britten and Shostakovich in a double mirror

A darkened stage; a pool of light; a solitary figure. And then, flooding the whole thing with meaning, music – even it’s just a soft chord on a piano. It’s no secret to any opera goer that even the barest outlines of a staging can magnify the...

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The Silver Lake, English Touring Opera review - shadows of the Weimar twilight

Almost exactly a century after the Weimar Republic’s constitution took effect, English Touring Opera presents a show whose birth coincided with the Republic's untimely death. His third collaboration with the prolific, maverick playwright Georg...

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The Seraglio, English Touring Opera review – focused and light

No great innovations in this Seraglio – as ETO are styling Mozart’s early Singspiel (its full title in translation is The Abduction from the Seraglio – but a traditional staging that makes the most of all the work’s characters and quirks. Mozart’s...

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Elizabeth I/Macbeth, English Touring Opera review - elegance and eeriness

A crash, a scurry, a long, lilting serenade – the overture to Rossini’s Elizabeth I sounds oddly familiar. Not to worry. English Touring Opera has anticipated our confusion. “You may recognise this overture” flash the surtitles, to a ripple of...

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Idomeneo, English Touring Opera review – honest excellence

Selfish, cunning, cynical, the older generation has screwed up the world with aggression abroad and dishonesty at home. Can their children make it good again? This family drama of transgression and reparation threads through Idomeneo, the opera that...

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The Marriage of Figaro, English Touring Opera review - vanilla Mozart still tastes sweet

The Fates did not want theartsdesk to review English Touring Opera’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro. The Beast from the East intervened to prevent a colleague from covering it at the Hackney Empire at the start of its tour in February: now...

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