tue 25/04/2017

opera directors

Bluebeard's Castle & The 8th Door, Scottish Opera

What to pair with Bluebeard’s Castle? It’s always a dilemma for opera companies. Something lightweight, even comic, provides contrast but also risks trivialising Bartók’s dark, symbolist drama. Something equally brooding risks submerging the...

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The Golden Dragon, Music Theatre Wales, Buxton Festival

It’s the kitchen of a Thai-Chinese-Vietnamese fast food restaurant. The onstage orchestra wear sweatbands and T-shirts, and a red work surface stretches across the stage. As the four chefs take the stage, the clatter of pans and knives is first...

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Best of 2015: Opera

How ironic that English National Opera turned out possibly the two best productions of the year after the Arts Council had done its grant-cutting worst, punishing the company simply, it seemed, for not being the irrationally preferred Royal Opera....

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Orlando, Welsh National Opera

It’s almost impossible to imagine what a Handel opera performance can have been like in London in the 1730s, when Orlando first appeared. The audience came primarily to hear their favourite singers: and these must have been sensational, if not...

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Listed: Essential Operas 2015-16

September is upon us and it’s nearly time for the new season. English National Opera’s Artistic Director John Berry may have left the building but his enterprising legacy lives on in a 2015-16 season that looks on paper as good as any in the past 20...

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theartsdesk in Aix: Dreaming on

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens with creepy glissandi emanating from the pit like nocturnal spirits. There is no mention in the score – this is an educated guess – for the chirrup of swifts and the hoot of wood pigeons, but this avian...

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theartsdesk in Aix-en-Provence: Let's make a Euro-opera

It’s a brilliantly sunny January afternoon amidst a general drama of rain at an industrial park outside Aix-en-Provence, and members of a production team are gathering for the first time in the back yard of the festival’s rehearsal studios. Some...

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Pappano's Classical Voices, BBC Four

Antonio Pappano, artistic director and chief conductor of the Royal Opera House, is a polymath, for he is also a brilliant and persuasive narrator of the history of music. Here he embarked on a four part history of the operatic voice, starting at...

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Opinion: Where's the crisis at ENO?

Having been bowled over by the total work of art English National Opera made of Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg on its first night, I bought tickets immediately afterwards for the final performance. So I’m off tonight to catch the farewell...

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Glare, Linbury Studio Theatre

Søren Nils Eichberg’s new opera Glare is advertised as a “taut” thriller. It’s actually a short thriller. Big difference.The question of whether or not opera – a medium that wouldn’t win any prizes for sprinting –  can successfully pull off a...

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La Traviata, Opera North

You’d expect a regional opera company to focus on the core repertoire in these economically challenging times. Happily, Opera North’s La traviata is a new staging and not a weary revival. Alessandro Talvi’s production doesn’t take many risks and...

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Alright on the Night: at Glyndebourne with the OAE

If you only ever listened to opera from recordings, you might overlook the fact that it's as much theatre as it is music. In the opera house on the night, it's all well and good for the orchestra to play the score and the singers to sing their parts...

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