sat 20/07/2019

The Tsar's Bride, Royal Opera | reviews, news & interviews

The Tsar's Bride, Royal Opera

The Tsar's Bride, Royal Opera

Rimsky-Korsakov's melodrama lacks A-list casting in semi-plausible update

All weddings for the Russian rich end in tears: Paul Curran's updated Rimsky-Korsakov at Covent GardenAll images Bill Cooper for the Royal Opera

Long before the curtain rose on this soapy operatic tale of power and poison, one big question loomed: could director Paul Curran, could anyone, bring Rimsky-Korsakov's sweet, doomed and very Russian bride to convincing life? The music's mostly strong, and unusually singer-friendly for this composer; the historically dodgy plot's patchy, but not inimical to resetting in the queasy milieu of the new Russian rich. Given the bloodstained start in a swish Moscow restaurant, I thought Curran could be on to something, but by the end of the evening it was just a tawdry old melodrama dressed up in flashy suits.

Kevin Knight's applause-winning designs take us from penthouse roof terrace to claustrophobic palace gilt, but the ceiling surely needs to lift as Marfa spiritually soars

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters