tue 20/11/2018

opera directors

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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Ariadne auf Naxos, Opera Holland Park - stylish staging, world-class singing

"When the new god approaches, we surrender, struck dumb". Especially if, for the singer of those words, popular entertainer Zerbinetta, the “new god” takes the shape of same-sex love. Director and designer Anthony McDonald locates the real “mystery...

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Prom 5, Pelléas et Mélisande, Glyndebourne review - for the ears, not the eyes

What a fabulous score Pelléas et Mélisande is, and what a joy to be able to hear it in a concert performance without the distraction of some over-sophisticated director’s self-communings. Well, if only. What last night’s Prom in fact served up was a...

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Ariadne auf Naxos, Longborough Festival review - appetising energy and wit

Much as I love Strauss’s Ariadne in its final form, I have a sneaking nostalgia for the original version (attached to Hofmannsthal’s adaptation of Molière’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme), which had Zerbinetta and her companions popping up after the...

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theartsdesk in Paris - following in the footsteps of Gounod

It’s a truism that history is written by the victors, but nowhere in classical music is the argument made more persuasively than in the legacy and reputation of Charles Gounod. In a year in which you can hardly move for Bernstein and Debussy-related...

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La finta semplice, Classical Opera, QEH review - consummate musicianship stokes early Mozart

You can always be sure of impeccable casting and spirited playing as Ian Page takes his Classical Opera through Mozart year by year. Just don't expect more than the glimmer of genius to come in 1768, though. It doesn't matter in those admirable...

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Der fliegende Holländer, Longborough Festival review - stand and deliver on an empty stage

Brilliant and innovative though it is in many respects, The Flying Dutchman is by no means a straightforward piece to stage. It’s an odd, sometimes uncomfortable mixture of the genre and the epic. At Sadler’s Wells in the sixties they had a little...

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Michael Chance on continuing opera in Hampshire: 'good people like to work with good people'

Out of the blue comes a phone call. A freelance career is based on those to a certain extent. Certainly mine has been. But this one was a bit different. “Would you come and talk to us about the way forward?”. I soon learnt that what this actually...

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Così fan tutte, Opera Holland Park review - the pain behind the prettiness

A proper production of Così fan tutte should make you feel as if the script for a barrel-scraping Carry On film has been hi-jacked by Shakespeare and Chekhov – working as a team. The story is so silly (even nasty), the music so sublime. When, in...

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Die Zauberflöte, Garsington Opera review - visually stimulating, conceptually confusing

Something is afoot at Garsington this season. Walking past the lake you might just catch sight of three strange figures in the distance – white-clad pawns engaged in a solemn game of human chess. Continue towards the auditorium and, somewhere among...

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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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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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