mon 26/09/2022

Verdi

Prom 1, Verdi's Requiem, BBCSO, Oramo review - introspective sorrow and consolation between the blazes

Any sensitive festival planner knows to begin the return to a new normal with something soft and elegiac – reflecting on all we’ve lost and mourned these past two years, as well as what we’re facing in the world now. Just over a fortnight ago, at...

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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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Oberto, Chelsea Opera Group, Cadogan Hall review - Verdi’s first opera bounces into life

There are quite a few dull patches in the early Verdi operas that aren’t Nabucco, Ernani or Macbeth, so I wasn’t expecting so very much from the 26-year-old composer’s first shot. That was without taking into account how spiritedly the ad hoc...

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Rigoletto, Opera North review - Covid shocks, debut pleasures

Beware of joining the Duke of Mantua’s sleazy feast in time of Covid too late, as I did on Opera North’s Newcastle leg of its Verdi journey. You may find more than a couple of the distinguished guests on stage have fallen sick – three, no less, on...

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Rigoletto, Royal Opera review - second time lucky

Two Royal Opera staples, Verdi's La traviata and Puccini’s Tosca, now come round with too much frequency for critical coverage. It looks like Director of Opera Oliver Mears’ Rigoletto will do the same. Yet the production’s September 2021 debut was...

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First Person: Femi Elufowoju Jr. on directing Verdi's 'Rigoletto'

I find that my experience of living as a Black man in the UK cannot help but inform the way I approach my work and never more so than with Verdi’s Rigoletto. It was because Verdi’s and his librettist Piave’s exploration of the impact of difference...

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Nabucco, Royal Opera review - high passion but low drama

This latest revival of the Royal Opera’s Nabucco production has suffered more than most from COVID disruptions. At the first night, on 20 December, the chorus were obliged to wear masks, news that was greeted by boos from the audience. Then the next...

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Macbeth, Royal Opera review - bloody, bold, and resolute

Phyllida Lloyd’s production of Macbeth has been in rep at the Royal Opera since 2002, and it is a solid performer. The setting is slick and vaguely period, with lots of iron weaponry, smart, pony-tailed warriors, but not a kilt in sight. The set (...

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Rigoletto, Royal Opera review - routine clouds the best in this season opener

Another season, another new production of Verdi’s nastiest masterpiece. For which we should be profoundly grateful after the tribulations of the last 18 months. Yet how quickly elements of the routine can corrode the soul of the spectator, just as...

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Luisa Miller, Glyndebourne review – small-scale tragedy, big emotions

“Time-travelling” is how Enrique Mazzola, the superb first conductor of Glyndebourne’s last new production of the main season, described the slow-burn trajectory of Verdi’s semi-masterpiece Luisa Miller in his First Person here on theartsdesk....

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First Person: conductor Enrique Mazzola on Verdi's time-travelling 'Luisa Miller'

It is difficult to know why some operas succeed while others remain unknown. The reasons can be emotional or historical, or it might be as simple as a poor cast who couldn’t quite launch the opera into the stars. In the case of Luisa Miller, we have...

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Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance, Royal Opera review – breathtaking young talent

Instant sell-out would have been guaranteed if the Royal Opera had advertised this as “Cardiff Singer of the World finalist Masabane and fellow Young Artists”. No doubt about it, South African soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha is indeed the most...

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