mon 20/05/2019

Opera Features

theartsdesk in Aix: Dreaming on

Jasper Rees

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 chorus joined the overture anyway at last week’s dress rehearsal in the open-air courtyard of Théâtre de l'Archevêché. Perhaps director Robert Carsen ordered them in as an atmospheric extra. An Aixtra, if you will.

Read more...

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

David Nice

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 have met earlier, and three of the five singers who’ll be arriving shortly know each other thanks to the connections already made through the European Network of Opera Academies.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Denmark: 150 years of Nielsen

David Nice

Music-lovers outside Denmark will have come to know Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) through his shatteringly vital symphonies as one of the world-class greats, a figure of light, darkness and every human shade in between. For Danes it is different: since childhood, most have been singing at least a dozen of his simpler songs in community gatherings, probably without even knowing the name of the composer.

Read more...

First Person: Once More With Feeling

Edgaras Montvidas

As a child back in Lithuania, I always wanted to be an actor, but opera has taken me in a different direction – though recently it has opened up doors for the big screen and TV. This month Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail is being beamed live from Glyndebourne Festival into cinemas across the globe with simultaneous streaming live online to some 100,000 people (more than would attend the whole summer festival).

Read more...

Listed: Essential BBC Proms

theartsdesk

Hottest tickets for seats at the Proms have probably all gone already. Yet the beauty of it is that so long as you start queueing early enough you can always get to hear the greatest, or rather the most popular, artists, for £5 in the Arena which is of course easily the best place to be acoustically in the notoriously unpredictable Royal Albert Hall.

Read more...

Why everyone should see The Mysteries from Cape Town

Jasper Rees

One night in Cape Town, I was caught in a power cut. Like an untenanted theatre, the city went utterly dark, darker than perhaps it had been since settlers first arrived three centuries earlier. Street lamps, restaurants, car showrooms, offices were all plunged into Stygian gloom.

Read more...

Opinion: Where's the crisis at ENO?

David Nice

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 of what has been an unqualified triumph for the company. Yet only last Thursday an unsolicited email arrived from Amazon Local – there’s no stopping them, it seems – offering tickets for this very show at 40 per cent discount.

Read more...

'I'm the photographer. Any nudity? Any fighting?'

Bill Knight

We are sitting in the lobby of the National Theatre in the early afternoon waiting for the photocall for Dara to begin. Six or seven photographers, one woman, all dressed in jeans and dark jackets with large camera bags, some on wheels. There is not much conversation. As a relative newcomer I don't normally speak, but on this occasion I venture a remark.

“I have seen this play.”

After a pause one of the company says, “You're keen.”

Read more...

theartsdesk in Oslo: Two Peer Gynts and a Hamlet

David Nice

Not so much a national hero, more a national disgrace. That seems to be the current consensus on Peer Gynt as Norway moves forward from having canonized the wild-card wanderer of Ibsen's early epic. It’s now 200 years since Norway gained a constitution, and 114 since Peer first shone in the country's National Theatre, that elegant emblem of the Norwegian language.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Stockholm: A Nobel Prize for Musical Excellence

David Nice

Should you not have caught one of the 20th century’s handful of greatest Wagnerian singers live - I did, just once, in a Prom of uneven excerpts - chances are that you first heard Birgit Nilsson in Brünnhilde’s Immolation Scene from Götterdämmerung on Sir Georg Solti’s Vienna Philharmonic Ring recording.

Read more...

Pages

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. 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 theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

latest in today

Game of Thrones, Sky Atlantic, Series 8 Finale review – who...

WARNING - CONTAINS SPOILERS! And so it’s over. Eight years of thrilling, fantastical, often emotionally devastating, in some senses ground-...

Anish Kapoor, Lisson Gallery review - naïve vulgarity and ot...

There's children screaming in a nearby playground. Their voices rise and fall, swell and drop. Interspersed silences fill with the sound of...

Sting and Shaggy, Roundhouse review - wilfully uncool and ir...

Musical odd couples don't come much stranger than Sting and Shaggy. Last night, at the...

La Damnation de Faust, Glyndebourne review – bleak and compe...

Mid-career, moving ever further away from composing for concert platform and church towards the stage,...

Gentleman Jack, BBC One review - the revolutionary life of A...

In 2010, Maxine Peake starred in The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, but this new...

Cannes 2019: Too Old to Die Young - nightmarish LA noir

This year, Cannes has been adamantly defending traditional...

Rokia Traoré: Dream Mandé: Bamanan Djourou, Brighton Festiva...

Much of Rokia Traoré’s set on Saturday night comprised folk songs about...

What We Do In the Shadows, BBC Two review - black comedy vam...

This is a toothsome treat for Sunday nights and one of those rare occasions when the...

Al Murray as the Pub Landlord, Embassy Theatre Skegness revi...

Al Murray's Pub Landlord character has been around since the mid-1990s. As such, it's a wonder that Murray has managed to reinvent the embittered...