fri 15/12/2017

Opera Reviews

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Royal Opera review - one tenor, two samey brutes

david Nice

Are "Cav and Pag" inseparable? Clearly not, to judge from Opera North's "Little Greats" and elsewhere, but it's still the pairing of choice. Tricky, because as music-theatre, Leoncavallo's drama of rough life entwined with rough art stands high above Mascagni's Sicilian village shenanigans, despite great scenes and numbers in both.

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I, Object review - this operatic double-bill delivers just a single hit

alexandra Coghlan

A comma divides the title of this opera double-bill in two, but the works paired here (Michael Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Kate Whitley’s Unknown Position) each explore what happens when you take it away – when natural divisions, between human and object, self and other, perception and reality are dissolved, dismantled or elided.

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Falstaff, RLPO, Petrenko, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall review - Bryn Terfel leads a merry dance

david Nice

Even seemingly immortal singers grow old. Sir Bryn is closer to the "Martinmas summer" of Shakespeare's and Verdi's Sir John than when first he put on the fat suit at the Royal Opera 18 years ago. Even if he walks the gouty walk that matches the belly, vocally he seems richer than ever.

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The Bear, Mid Wales Opera review - small stage, big ambitions

Richard Bratby

Go west, opera-lover: Mid Wales Opera is back in business. In fact, it’s been back since spring this year, when it toured venues in Wales and England with a warmly reviewed Handel Semele and a striking (and impressively cast) Magic Flute inspired by 1970s British sci-fi.

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The Rake's Progress, Wilton's Music Hall review - mercurial Stravinsky made cumbersome

david Nice

If you're not going to mention the imaginative genius of Stravinsky, Auden and Kallman within the covers of your programme, and the only article, by the director, is titled "Acting Naturally", then the production had better deliver.

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Semiramide, Royal Opera review - Rossini's Queen is back

william Ward

It has long been a mystery why no new production of Semiramide should have been staged at Covent Garden since 1887: un offesa terribile considering that this splendid melodramma tragico should have been the inaugural production of the Royal Italian Opera House (our current theatre’s predecessor) in 1847.

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Marnie, English National Opera review – hyped new opera doesn’t hit the heights

Bernard Hughes

The great and good of the London music scene were gathered at English National Opera last night for the unveiling of American Wunderkind Nico Muhly’s new opera, Marnie. Although it was commissioned by the Met in New York, somehow ENO managed to wangle the world premiere, which has been widely hyped and was ecstatically received by a packed house.

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Lucia di Lammermoor, Royal Opera review - creepy, violent and intense

Gavin Dixon

Katie Mitchell’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor opened at Covent Garden in 2016 and now returns for a first revival. Royal Opera were clearly expecting great things, even from the start, and this is the third cast to have presented the show, after two separately cast runs last year, and a commercial DVD is also available.

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The Consul, Guildhall School review - blowsy melodrama rooted by committed students

david Nice

Fancy that: the day after the last major Menotti staging I can remember in the UK, The Medium at the Edinburgh Festival, "splendid piece of post-Puccinian grand guignol" turned up in two different reviews (moral: don't discuss the performance with your colleagues).

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Crowe, The English Concert, Bicket, Milton Court review - Mozartian prima-donna perfection

david Nice

Singing students from the Guildhall School should have been issued with a three-line whip to fill the inexplicably half-empty Milton Court concert hall for last night's charmer. After all, every musician, and not just sopranos, should know that this is how it ought to be done. True, an effervescent personality like Lucy Crowe's can't be simulated. But every other respect of her stunningly sung and varied Mozart...

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