mon 08/08/2022

ROH

Frankenstein, Royal Ballet

Another year, another new full-length story ballet from one of the Royal Ballet's in-house choreographers. Time was – a long time, in fact, up to 2011 – when that would have sounded like science fiction, but no longer: Liam Scarlett, whose...

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The Winter's Tale, Royal Ballet

It was twelfth night for Christopher Wheeldon's two-year-old, three-act Shakespearean ballet, and this newcomer had one nervous anticipatory question. The verbal music is gone, only the plot remains, so could A Winter's Tale the play inspire...

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Boris Godunov, Royal Opera

Russian bells and spinning tops dominate Richard Jones's predictably unpredictable take on Musorgsky's saga of a conscience-stricken Tsar. Latter-day purism tends to insist on the composer's seven-scene 1869 original – possibly for economic more...

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Giselle, Royal Ballet

One of the secrets to enjoying life is mastering the creative use of disappointment. Many in the Covent Garden audience last night were no doubt deeply disappointed not to be seeing Natalia Osipova's legendary portrayal of the title role in Giselle...

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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...

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The Mighty Handful, ROH Orchestra, Pappano, Royal Opera House

What fun it must have been to attend any of the St Petersburg Free Music School concerts during the second half of the 19th century. Balakirev, idiosyncratic mentor of the group briefly together as the "Mighty Handful", and his acolytes – Borodin,...

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L'Étoile, Royal Opera

Why have all attempts to make French comic opera funny to British audiences fallen so flat, at least since ENO's 1980s Orpheus in the Underworld? That company's La belle Hélène simply curled the toes, while Opera North managed to make a pig's-ear "...

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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...

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Elizabeth, Royal Ballet

Please, sir, I want some more. Will Tuckett and Alasdair Middleton's Elizabeth is soul food for the hungry dance fan; an ingenious blend of words, music and dance that beguiles and entertains in equal measure. The shame is that it will be seen by so...

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Eugene Onegin, Royal Opera

Searing emotional truth has to be at the core of any attempt to stage Tchaikovsky’s “lyrical scenes after Pushkin”. I was among the minority who thought Kasper Holten got it right, with deep knowledge of the original verse-novel, in his first...

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The Two Pigeons, Royal Ballet

With real live birds fluttering across the stage, and a sweetly happy ending – hurrah for young love! – Frederick Ashton's 1961 The Two Pigeons can look like mere frothy fantasy, precisely the kind of trivial, uncomplicated...

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Morgen und Abend, Royal Opera

It’s never funny like Ligeti’s Le grand macabre, though it touches on that joke apocalypse’s more nebulous soundscapes. Nor is it obviously dynamic like David Sawer’s From Morning to Midnight, with which its title is not to be confused (there are no...

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