sat 22/06/2024

opera directors

Il Trittico, Welsh National Opera review - another triumph for a hard-pressed company

It’s somehow typical of the Welsh National Opera I’ve known now for the best part of sixty years that it should confront its current funding difficulties with brilliant productions of two of the more challenging works in the repertory.The company’s...

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The Merry Widow, Glyndebourne review - fun and frolics in the Embassy

Why would anyone want to stage a work like The Merry Widow in this day and age? Silly question. It’s the music, stupid. Of course, it’s an entertaining story and there are some good jokes. But I'd bet that if Heuberger had composed the music to this...

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Tosca, Opera Holland Park review - passion and populism

Set in a tensely polarised Roman neighbourhood, with an election in the offing and radicals scrapping with reactionaries under poster-plastered walls, Stephen Barlow’s smart update of Tosca from 1800 to 1968 might have felt like a double dose of...

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Death In Venice, Welsh National Opera review - breathtaking Britten

Benjamin Britten’s last opera Death in Venice (1973), adapted from Thomas Mann’s novella of the same name (1912) and the subject of one of Visconti’s later, most celebrated films, explores homoerotic attraction, the nature of beauty and the...

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theartsdesk in Strasbourg: crossing the frontiers

A single pair of swans glided serenely under the bridges of the river Ill as I walked to the premiere of the Opéra National du Rhin’s new production of Lohengrin in Strasbourg on Sunday.It felt like an auspicious omen for Michael Spyres’s first full...

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Giant, Linbury Theatre review - a vision fully realised

Abandon hope of the human comedy so precisely charted in Hilary Mantel’s related historical fiction The Giant, O’Brien, prepare for a vision of outsized body and soul revealed in sleep, and your patience will be rewarded. Sarah Angliss’s haunting...

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The Magic Flute, English National Opera review - return of an enchanted evening

Trials by fire and water pale in comparison with trials by Arts Council England. English National Opera’s long torment has lately involved redundancy notices issued mid-performance and the enforcement of a sub-standard contract for chorus and...

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Best of 2022: Opera

Looking through everything we’ve covered this year – and some of our reviewers have made their choices from an even wider sphere – I find, as in 2021, that the abundance of classical-concert top choices is richer than the number of truly outstanding...

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Patience, Charles Court Opera, Wilton's Music Hall review - bar room bliss

“Twenty lovesick maidens we,” pining in stained-glass attitudes for florid poet Reginald Bunthorne, usually kick off Gilbert and Sullivan’s delicious mockery of the high (or cod) aesthetical. That might have been a problem for Charles Court Opera’s...

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Otello, Grange Park Opera review - angels and demons

The devil, in Verdi’s Otello, doesn’t quite have all the best tunes. Desdemona trumps him there. But the arch-manipulator Iago boasts a part of such polished, seductive wickedness that (as in Shakespeare’s tragedy) the villain can often make off...

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Best of 2021: Opera

January to mid-May 2021 were the bleakest Covid months, yielding only the occasional livestream at least half as good as being there (Barrie Kosky’s magically reinvented Strauss Der Rosenkavalier from Munich, a film of Britten's The Turn of the...

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Remembering Graham Vick (1953-2021) - top colleagues on one of the greatest opera directors

Five weeks have passed since the death of opera director Graham Vick from complications due to Covid-19, shocking even to those of us (un)prepared for the worst, and yet so many of us think about him every day. For the musicians, actors, dancers and...

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