sun 27/05/2018

opera directors

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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The Moderate Soprano, Duke of York's Theatre review - love and opera with a flinty edge

"What could be more serious than married life?" asked Richard Strauss, whose operas became a surprising pillar of Glyndebourne's repertoire some time after the early days dramatised in David Hare's play. "Honour" might have been the answer of...

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Coraline, Royal Opera, Barbican review - spooky story, underwhelming score

With the eyes of musical fashion turned relentlessly on the calculating stage works of chilly alchemist George Benjamin, hopes ran high for a brighter spark in a new opera by his contemporary Mark-Anthony Turnage. Would Coraline, a music-drama for...

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Hansel and Gretel, RNCM, Manchester review – an urban dream

Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel is a ‘"fairytale opera" (its composer’s description), and yet one characteristic frequently commented on is its "Wagnerian" scoring. For this production, with David Pountney’s English translation, the RNCM...

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Wake, Birmingham Opera Company review - power to the people

“Would you like a veil?” asked a steward, offering a length of black gauze, and when you’re at a production by Birmingham Opera Company it’s usually wisest to say yes. You get used to it - the frantic Google-mapping to locate the venue; the hike...

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From the House of the Dead, Royal Opera review - Janáček's prison oddity prompts hot tears

A political prisoner is brutally initiated into the life of a state penitentiary, and leaves it little over 90 minutes later. Four inmates reveal their brutal past histories with elliptical strangeness - each would need an episode of something like...

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Tosca, Welsh National Opera review - ticking the traditionalist boxes

Opera-lovers: if you’ve finally had enough of the wheelchairs and syringes, the fifties skirts and heels, the mobile phones and the white box sets, and the rest of the symbolic paraphernalia of the right-on modern opera production, pop along to the...

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Cendrillon, RNCM, Manchester review - magic and spectacle

The Royal Northern College of Music’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon has a particularly strong professional production team, and it shows. This is one of the most attractively spectacular operas the college has mounted for years.Director Olivia...

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Edinburgh Festival 2017 review: Verdi's Macbeth - exhilarating and overwhelming

Skeletal horses; piles of newborn babies smothered in a bloody sheet; a whole garden centre of prickly pears. There’s no denying that Italian director Emma Dante’s new production of Verdi’s Macbeth, which Turin’s Teatro Regio brings to the Edinburgh...

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Buxton Festival review - early Verdi, earlier Mozart and refreshing Britten

“The subject is neither political nor religious; it is fantastical” wrote Verdi to the librettist Piave about his opera Macbeth. “The opera is not about the rise of a modern fascist: nor is it about political tyranny. It is a study in character”...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Snape Maltings

It’s all there in the first few bars of Britten’s music – that unsettling tension between beauty and familiarity, and eerie, undefinable otherness. Those cello glissandi might end in glowing major chords, but the tentacle-like slides throw them into...

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Bluebeard's Castle & The 8th Door, Scottish Opera

What to pair with Bluebeard’s Castle? It’s always a dilemma for opera companies. Something lightweight, even comic, provides contrast but also risks trivialising Bartók’s dark, symbolist drama. Something equally brooding risks submerging the...

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