sat 24/02/2018

Verdi

Un ballo in maschera, Opera North review - decent, no more

You’d expect a degree of mischief and bafflement in an opera about mistaken identity, closing with a scene set at a masked ball. But Tim Albery’s new Opera North Un ballo in maschera is confusing for the wrong reasons, its shortcomings all the more...

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La forza del destino, Welsh National Opera review - rambling drama, fine music

David Pountney’s tenure at WNO has been an almost unqualified success, despite some eccentricities of repertoire and a certain obstinacy in the matter of new commissions. His own productions have included at least three of unforgettable quality. He...

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Having a Verdi ball: conductor Richard Farnes on Opera North's upcoming production

Commentators have, over the years, variously described Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) as all things to all people: Verdi’s Tristan und Isolde, Verdi’s masterpiece, Verdi’s Don Giovanni, a pure love poem, and much more. It seems to me to be one...

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Classical CDs Weekly Special: Callas Live

Remastered they may be, but the 20 live operas recorded here between 1949 and 1964 vary soundwise from clean at best to atrocious, with all the caprices of stage noise and audience participation seemingly acceptable at the time (so often there's the...

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

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...

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Jonas Kaufmann: Tenor for the Ages, BBC Four review - a musical megastar with sword and shortbread

Now we know who sent Jonas Kaufmann the Union Jack boxer shorts for the Last Night of the Proms. Whether the sender’s identity is the bigger surprise, or the hint of ambiguity over whether the "Greatest Tenor in the World" had previously heard of...

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Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, V&A review - seven cities, seven masterpieces

There's something here for everyone, as a "roll up!" slogan for one of the greatest shows in town might put it. Even opera buffs don't seem to have found much to fault with the cornucopia of sounds, moving pictures, objects, paintings, drawings and...

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Aida, English National Opera review - heroine almost saves a dismal day

If the best is the enemy of the good, then the excellent is also the enemy of the "meh". And if you can stomach Verdi's Aida, go and see English National Opera’s new production for its central performance by Latonia Moore. In what’s become her...

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Michael Volpe on a Requiem for Grenfell: 'one of the most remarkable evenings in our history'

On the morning of the Grenfell Tower disaster, as the news of the fire gathered pace and gravity, our phones were abuzz with concern for our front of house colleague, Debbie Lamprell, who we knew lived in the tower. We all called her number time and...

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El-Khoury, Spyres, Hallé, Rizzi, Cadogan Hall review - bel canto lives again

Unless you're an undiscriminating fan of bel canto, the lesser Italian and French operas of the 1830s and '40s - that's to say, not Verdi's Nabucco and Macbeth or Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini - need to be approached with caution. Once you've lowered...

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Buxton Festival review - early Verdi, earlier Mozart and refreshing Britten

“The subject is neither political nor religious; it is fantastical” wrote Verdi to the librettist Piave about his opera Macbeth. “The opera is not about the rise of a modern fascist: nor is it about political tyranny. It is a study in character”...

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Otello, Royal Opera review — Kaufmann makes a pretty Moor

Recorded on disc, this cast would be extraordinary for much of the time — to look at, not so much. Royal Opera conductor Antonio Pappano lured Jonas Kaufmann to London for his first attempt on the Everest of tenor roles, and with so many recent...

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