tue 29/09/2020

Verdi

The Royal Opera: Live in Concert review - Italianate fizz with a patch of flatness

What could be better than Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro to celebrate the Royal Opera’s next step on the path out of lockdown? Ideally, the rest of the opera, especially remembering Antonio Pappano’s lively interaction with his singers...

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Luisa Miller, English National Opera review - Verdi in translation makes a stylish comeback

Those who booed the production team last night - there was nothing but generous cheering for singers, conductor and orchestra - might reflect that this was at least regietheater, that singular brand of not-all-bad director's opera in Germany, with...

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theartsdesk Q&A: soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn

Could English National Opera be about to right the wrong done to a national treasure? Elizabeth Llewellyn was Brixton born - with what she calls a usual childhood, recorders and chime bars at primary school, followed by special opportunities at a...

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Les vêpres siciliennes, Welsh National Opera review - spectacular, silly, but some great music

It’s not hard to see why The Sicilian Vespers has struggled since its surprisingly successful opening run at the Paris Opéra in 1855. Verdi had composed it reluctantly, despised the librettist, Eugène Scribe, who he regarded as a well-named cynical...

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Rigoletto, Welsh National Opera review - same old update, fine performance

Considering the doubtfulness of its underlying idea, James Macdonald’s production of Rigoletto has shown remarkable staying power since its Cardiff début 17 years ago. It’s true that this particular opera - which, unlike one or two others of Verdi’s...

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Last Night of the Proms, Barton, BBCSO, Oramo review – woke not broke

The BBC put social and ethnic diversity at the heart of this Last Night programme. The concert opened with a new work, by Daniel Kidane, called Woke, and the first half was dominated by the music of black and female composers. In the second half,...

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Un ballo in maschera, Opera Holland Park review - evocative and sensationally sung

A masked ball is a time of play and role-play, celebrating the duality, the conflicting selves within us all, allowing us to set aside our everyday public mask put on an alter ego for the evening. It seems appropriate then that Verdi’s Un ballo in...

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Falstaff, The Grange Festival review - belly laughs and bags of fun

What is the perfect country house opera? A Midsummer Night’s Dream? L’elisir? Cenerentola? Figaro? All are strong contenders, but in the absence of anyone brave enough to stage Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest the winner – surely –...

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Aida, Opera North review - militarism soundly subverted

Opera North created something approaching a new art form when they performed Wagner’s Ring in "concert stagings", putting their large orchestra in full view, with singers symbolically dressed and given limited front-of-stage space, and a continuous...

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'The orchestra becomes the landscape': Annabel Arden on Opera North's concert staging of Aida

This will be the latest in Opera North’s acclaimed concert stagings of large-scale works, which have previously included Wagner’s Ring cycle, Puccini’s Turandot and Strauss’s Salome. For Verdi’s Egyptian epic, we’ve recreated the team which brought...

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Elizabeth I/Macbeth, English Touring Opera review - elegance and eeriness

A crash, a scurry, a long, lilting serenade – the overture to Rossini’s Elizabeth I sounds oddly familiar. Not to worry. English Touring Opera has anticipated our confusion. “You may recognise this overture” flash the surtitles, to a ripple of...

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La forza del destino, Royal Opera review - generous voices, dramatic voids

When "Maestro" Riccardo Muti left the Royal Opera's previous production of Verdi's fate-laden epic, disgusted by minor changes to fit the scenery on the Covent Garden stage, no-one was sorry when Antonio Pappano, the true master of the house then...

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