thu 23/05/2024

Opera Features

theartsdesk in Brno - a visionary at home in his ‘Moravian Bayreuth’

David Nice

“Visionary,” I’m told, is a clichéd word these days. But so long as you don’t fling it about too freely, it’s apt: for me, there are only two visionary directors working in opera right now. One is our own Richard Jones – though even he can get it wrong occasionally – and non-Czechs probably won’t know much about the other as yet.

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An open letter from Dame Sarah Connolly and colleagues to Arts Council England

Sarah Connolly

The decision of Arts Council England to withdraw funding from the English National Opera and force it to move out of London is not only another hammer blow to the opera industry but it has huge ramifications for the extensive number of British freelance artists the company employs.

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First Person: conductor Leo Hussain on why we still need English National Opera in London

Leo Hussain

I still remember vividly my first encounter with ENO. I was taken, as a nine-year-old boy, on a school trip to see a performance of Peter Grimes. And I was hooked. I pestered my parents to take me back several times to that same production. I can still hear the ringing of the "Storm" Interlude, and see the waves projected outside the door as the characters entered the pub (and I still remember sniggering with my classmates at the line "that’s a bitch of a gale out there").

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First Persons: co-music directors Jasdeep Singh Degun and Laurence Cummings on their new Opera North 'Orpheus'

Jasdeep Singh D

We believe that with Orpheus, we are creating something which will invite audiences to rethink what opera can and should be. Inspired by Monteverdi’s 1607 work L’Orfeo, it grew out of Opera North’s long-standing relationship with South Asian Arts-uk, a Leeds-based centre of excellence for South Asian music and dance.

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theartsdesk in Kyiv - defiant new operatic epic in an empty gallery

Kevin Sullivan

The Khanenko Museum stands opposite the Taras Shevchenko Park in central Kyiv, a popular green oasis next to the University. One of the 83 Russian missiles fired into Ukrainian cities on Monday this week landed at an intersection on the edge of the park, killing several commuters.

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First Persons: Glyndebourne's sustainability advisers Sara and Jeremy Eppel on creating eco-friendly opera

Sara And Jeremy

Like the beacons saving ships from the Cornish rocks in Ethel Smyth’s opera, The Wreckers, which opened this year’s Glyndebourne Festival, the Sussex opera house has itself become a beacon of more environmentally sustainable opera. In 2021, with the COP 26 Climate Change Conference raising the profile of businesses’ efforts to cut their carbon emissions, Glyndebourne was a pioneer among opera houses and joined the global Race to Zero.

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First Person: Michael Volpe on the utopian thinking behind his new If Opera company

Michael Volpe

“But what’s in it for you?”. It was a simple enough question, asked by an accomplished opera singer. It stemmed from hearing that the new version of the Iford Arts opera company I was running was aiming for a different kind of guiding philosophy: it would have a repertory ensemble, who would be paid weekly wages and would work under a clearly defined code of conduct that placed them front and centre of our organisation, attempting to return agency to them.

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theartsdesk in Zurich - forging a brilliant new Ring

David Nice

Could this be the summer Bayreuth finally sees a new Ring production that comes anywhere near its last great epic success, Harry Kupfer’s, which ran from 1988-92? If so, it’s been pipped to the post by a rather more comfortable and bijou opera house on the other side of the lake to the refuges where Wagner worked on more masterpieces – beautiful sites both, even if the “asyl” next to the Villa Wesendonck is no more..

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'How that music was created remains to me a complete mystery': John Tomlinson on fellow Lancastrian Harrison Birtwistle

John Tomlinson

It has been a difficult couple of years for us in the world of opera, losing several of our most respected and admired colleagues who have inspired us over several decades.

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First Person: Femi Elufowoju Jr. on directing Verdi's 'Rigoletto'

Femi Elufowoju Jr

I find that my experience of living as a Black man in the UK cannot help but inform the way I approach my work and never more so than with Verdi’s Rigoletto.

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