tue 29/09/2020

opera directors

GogolFest:Dream review - the best music festival of the summer?

GogolFest:Dream in Kherson, somewhere near the Crimea in Ukraine was the music festival of the summer. Admittedly, in my case and for many, having missed out on WOMAD, Glastonbury, Fez, and others it was the only festival of the summer, and the bar...

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The Telephone, Scottish Opera/Cargill, RSNO, Søndergård, Edinburgh International Festival online - human emotions in digital form

Lockdown, perhaps more than any other time, has amplified how modern technology can be both a blessing and a curse. Of course, it’s wonderful to have the means to connect with friends and family scattered across the globe; carry on working, learning...

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The Encore, Opera Holland Park review - stylish return for a squad of old friends

As Dvořák’s "Song to the Moon" from Rusalka rose to its impassioned climax, Natalya Romaniw had to battle a helicopter thumping overhead. The helicopter lost (well, of course it did). As Nardus Williams and David Butt Phillip disappeared into...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Sir Jonathan Miller

Doctor, writer, sculptor, curator, comedian, presenter and director, Sir Jonathan Miller (1934-2019) was one of the mighty cultural and intellectual omnivores of our age. To those of a musical or theatrical bent, however, Miller was above all one of...

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Anna Bolena, Longborough Festival Opera review - Henry VIII's court becomes a sexualised death cult

Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived. Anne Boleyn is number two on the list, so anyone who can remember even that much Tudor history can guess that Donizetti’s Anna Bolena is not going to end well. The overture has hardly ended...

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Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), Brighton Festival 2019 review - a feverishly foul-mouthed musical comedy

Five years ago this Kneehigh Theatre production caused a stir with its vibrant modern retelling of John Gay’s 18th century satirical classic, The Beggar’s Opera. It’s currently on tour again and it’s easy to see why a revival was greenlit. It’s a...

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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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L'heure espagnole, Mid Wales Opera review - Ravel goes like clockwork

Mid Wales Opera makes small-scale touring look fun – even when you suspect that, behind the scenes, it really isn’t. Barely 24 hours before this performance of their current production of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole, and 11 dates into their current 16...

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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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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 Antony 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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