tue 13/04/2021

Puccini

Manon Lescaut, Royal Opera

Jonathan Kent’s Manon Lescaut is back for a first revival at Covent Garden. It’s a gaudy affair, and seems calculated to provoke. But there are some interesting ideas here, and the musical standards remain high, even from the lesser-known names of...

Read more...

Madama Butterfly, Glyndebourne Tour

What would Glyndebourne, staging Madama Butterfly for the first time, bring to Puccini's most heartbreaking tragedy? Subtle realism, perhaps? Certainly the composer, along with his superb librettists Giacosa and Illica, offers plenty of...

Read more...

Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, Opera North

Just two thirds of Puccini’s Il Trittico still makes for an involving evening’s entertainment. Without Gianni Schicchi there’s an awful lot of misery and heartache, though director Michael Barker-Caven does manage to inject some black comedy into...

Read more...

La Bohème, Opera Holland Park

Boy meets girl; girl and boy fall in love; boy loses girl. In true bohemian fashion, La bohème can lay its operatic head anywhere from Paris to Peshawar, in any era from 90s punk to the Belle Epoque, and still make sense. What matters are the...

Read more...

La Fanciulla del West, Grange Park Opera

Though composed after and based on a play by the same author, Puccini’s spaghetti western is in no way a sequel to Madama Butterfly, his whisky-sour eastern. Fanciulla is Butterfly’s opposite in almost every respect, and to tell...

Read more...

Madam Butterfly, English National Opera

There’s a beautiful moment at the start of Act II of Anthony Minghella’s Madam Butterfly. Butterfly kneels, leaning forward to kiss Pinkerton, seated in his defiantly Western armchair. A paper screen moves swiftly across our view, and almost before...

Read more...

Il Trittico, Royal Opera

From working-class hell via convent purgatory to Florentine comic heaven, the riches of Puccini's most comprehensive masterpiece seem inexhaustible. In a production as detailed in its balance between the stylised and the seemingly spontaneous as...

Read more...

Tosca, Royal Opera

To say this latest revival of the Royal Opera’s Tosca peaks early would be an understatement. The shockwaves rippling out from the brass and timpani in the first few bars set the auditorium rumbling, tumbling the strings into motion. Conductor...

Read more...

Tosca, Wales Millennium Centre

There’s a good deal to be said for semi-staged opera. It concentrates the mind in a particular way; it brings the orchestra more fully into the action; it moves the singers closer to the audience; and above all it reduces – even removes – the power...

Read more...

La Bohème, English National Opera

Kurt Cobain’s “Smells like Teen Spirit’ cued a realistic song and drink routine for Chekhov’s Three Sisters in a hit-and-miss update by director Benedict Andrews. This one, with a Puccini soundtrack unsupportively conducted by Xian Zhang, smells...

Read more...

Listed: Essential Operas 2015-16

September is upon us and it’s nearly time for the new season. English National Opera’s Artistic Director John Berry may have left the building but his enterprising legacy lives on in a 2015-16 season that looks on paper as good as any in the past 20...

Read more...

Madama Butterfly, Royal Opera

When is a famous aria more than just a showpiece? When it’s a narrative of a future event conjured by a hope beyond reason, which is what Madama Butterfly’s “Un bel dì” (“One fine day”) ought to be but so rarely is: too often prima donna overkill...

Read more...
Subscribe to Puccini