wed 19/06/2019

ENO

Hansel and Gretel, ENO, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - into the broomstick woods

Shoving a child-eating drag-queen witch into an oven can't be good for any kid's psyche. Director Timothy Sheader doesn't let us forget it in a production which nevertheless treads a fine line between the darkness of the Grimm story and the...

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Man of La Mancha, London Coliseum review - historical work better left in the past

English National Opera continues its run of semi-staged musicals, in commercial collaboration with Grade Linnit, with a revival of this vintage oddity. Mind, commercial might be a stretch, as Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh's 1965 work –...

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Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel, English National Opera review - powerful ensemble, wrong subject

If you can’t put a name to any of Jack the Ripper’s victims – and spin it however you please, victims they remain – then you shouldn’t buy the publicity about this new opera "bringing dignity back" to the murdered women in question. Isn’t it time to...

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The Merry Widow, English National Opera review - glitter but no sparkle

It’s all there. High kicks and tight corsets; silk and sequins and shenanigans in a broom closet; hot pinks and still hotter can-can girls; waltzing, scheming, sparring, and a bit with a banquet table. There’s even a dancing beaver. So why don’t I...

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Akhnaten, English National Opera review - still a mesmerising spectacle

You start off fighting it. Those arpeggios, the insistent reduction, simplification, repetition, the amplification of the smallest gesture into an epic. Then something happens. Somewhere among the slow-phase patterns pulsing on ear and eye, you...

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Best of 2018: Opera

Outnumbered by four to one: out of the classical/opera team, Alexandra Coghlan, Jessica Duchen, David Benedict and Boyd Tonkin all chose English National Opera's production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess as their best of the operatic year, while I...

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War Requiem, English National Opera review - a striking spectacle, but oddly unmoving

We’re not good at lack these days. Just look at the concert hall, where increasingly you turn up to find not just an orchestra and soloists but a giant screen. Videos, projections, live speakers, "virtual choirs"; if there’s so much as a chink of an...

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Porgy and Bess, English National Opera review - strength in depth on Catfish Row

After exhausting years of financial and artistic crisis-management at the Coliseum, English National Opera urgently needed an ironclad, feelgood success. This season’s opener, a somewhat idiosyncratic take on Strauss’s Salome, was unlikely to fit...

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Salome, English National Opera review - a not so terrible stillness

Sibling incest among the symbolic clutter of the Royal Opera Ring on Wednesday, last night necrophilia and a bit more incest – mother and daughter this time, courtesy of the director's imagination – in a stone-cold ENO Salome. Adena Jacobs'...

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Paul Bunyan, ENO, Wilton's Music Hall review - talent cabined and confined

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...

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The Turn of the Screw, ENO, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - one dimension, not four

Opera and music theatre have set the birds shrilling in Regent's Park before in the shape of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess – a very forgettable production – and Sondheim's Into the Woods – much better, and a score which can give any 20th century opera a...

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

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. Launched in 2017, the company’s reliably punchy Studio Live strand (stripped-back, small-scale, off-site...

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