thu 23/02/2017

Opera Reviews

Juan Diego Flórez, Vincenzo Scalera, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Richard Bratby

“Who says Mozart is not like Rossini?” remarked Juan Diego Flórez, about a quarter of an hour into his debut recital at Symphony Hall.

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Le Vin herbé, Welsh National Opera

stephen Walsh

Wagner’s Tristan left a huge mark on fin de siècle art, on the symbolist poets, even on their pseudonyms; Debussy himself toyed with a four-act opera on the subject.

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Kaufmann, Mattila, LSO, Pappano, Barbican

Peter Quantrill

Jonas Kaufmann’s legion of admirers could rest content. A well-received Lieder evening last week demonstrated that the world’s hottest tenor property had returned, both to London for a three-concert residency at the Barbican, and indeed to singing after burst blood vessels had forced several months of rest and cancelled concerts.

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Adriana Lecouvreur, Royal Opera

Gavin Dixon

Adriana Lecouvreur deserves to be better known. The opera has a toe-hold in the repertoire, with occasional appearances, usually as a showcase for the soprano in the title role.

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Rigoletto, English National Opera

alexandra Coghlan

This was supposed to be a triumphant return – one final encore for the production so good that audiences just couldn’t let it go. Instead, this 13th revival of Jonathan Miller’s Mafia Rigoletto seems like an apology. The designs are handsome as ever, the concept as neat, but the details of both direction and music are so scrappy and scattered that the show feels more like a basement clear-out than a loving restoration.  

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The Snow Maiden, Opera North

david Nice

Late January, and the soul longs for winter's end. Which is why Rimsky-Korsakov's bittersweet fairy story about the fragile daughter of Spring and Frost whose heart will melt when she discovers true love, allowing the sun to bring back warmth to earth, is so apt. Unfortunately the time of year is also one for striking singers down, so we missed two of the principals on Saturday night.

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Les Enfants Terribles, Barbican

Jenny Gilbert

To judge from the hype in advance of this production, you’d think it must be a premiere. In fact Philip Glass’s dance-opera hybrid, written in 1996 and based on Jean Cocteau’s 1950 screenplay, received its first London performance at the Arcola Theatre six years ago.

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Christine Rice, Julius Drake, Middle Temple Hall

david Nice

To catch the searing desolation of a lover scorned, you need to be the complete artist, with temperament and technique in perfect equilibrium. Mezzo Christine Rice has taken us from Berlioz's Marguerite and Mozart's Donna Elvira at English National Opera via Birtwistle's Ariadne to Haydn's, and - most taxing of all - the end of an affair by telephone in Poulenc's La Voix Humaine.

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Fidelio, LPO, Jurowski, RFH

alexandra Coghlan

Juxtaposition is a powerful thing.

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Summerfield, Jackson, Riches, Classical Opera, Page, Wigmore Hall

david Nice

Young Amadeus is growing up in real time with MOZART 250, Classical Opera's ambitious 26-year project following its hero's creative life from childhood to the grave. 2015's start, marking two and a half centuries since the boy wonder's first visit to London, and its sequel had little to show of its main man, but plenty of other, senior composers flourishing in the same years.

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