tue 10/12/2019

Opera Reviews

Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

David Nice

"Sadler's Wells! Any more for Peter Grimes, the sadistic fisherman?," a cheery bus conductor is alleged to have called out around the time of this towering masterpiece's premiere in 1945.

Read more...

Death in Venice, Royal Opera review – expansive but intimate evocations

Gavin Dixon

Death in Venice is usually a dark and claustrophobic affair. It lends itself to small-scale staging with minimal props and suggestive, low-key lighting. But for this new production at the Royal Opera, director David McVicar has taken a different approach. He has used all the resources at the company’s disposal to create a more expansive vision.

Read more...

Orphée, English National Opera review – through a screen darkly

Boyd Tonkin

Like almost everything that it touches these days, English National Opera’s autumn season of shows rooted in the Orpheus myth has enjoyed a fairly mixed reception. The company’s programme of visits to the Underworld concludes with another high-risk journey: Philip Glass’s 1993 opera Orphée, inspired by the 1950 film that Jean Cocteau spun from his own earlier drama on this theme.

Read more...

Mrs Peachum's Guide to Love and Marriage, Mid Wales Opera review - scaled down seediness, with a swing

Richard Bratby

The Beggar’s Opera: does any piece of music theatre promise more fun and deliver more tedium? Yes, it was the satirical smash of 1728; yes, it inspired Brecht and Weill; yes, with its combination of popular melodies and a topical script it was effectively the world’s first jukebox musical. I get all that.

Read more...

Der Freischütz, Barbican review - Gothic chills rooted in flesh and earth

alexandra Coghlan

It’s hard to believe that in 1824 there were no fewer than six productions of Weber’s Der Freischütz in London alone. Since then this colourful piece of German Romanticism hasn’t fared nearly so well, disappearing from the UK’s opera houses not just for years but decades at a time.

Read more...

The Mask of Orpheus, English National Opera review - amorphous excess

David Nice

Advance publicity overstated the case for The Mask of Orpheus. "Iconic"? Only to academics and acolytes, for British audiences haven't had a chance to see a production since ENO's world premiere run in 1986. "Masterpiece"?

Read more...

The Cunning Little Vixen, Welsh National Opera review - family night in the forest

stephen Walsh

Considering that Janáček’s Vixen is, among other things, an allegory of the passing and returning years, it’s appropriate that WNO continue to recycle David Pountney’s now nearly 40-year-old production, and that it comes up each time refreshed, with this or that altered or added detail, but quantum-like the same general image.

Read more...

Orpheus in the Underworld, English National Opera review – ENO goes to hell

Jessica Duchen

Maybe some British opera houses just don’t get operetta. Without wit, lightness and snappy pace, cudgelling us with desperate relevance, the frothiest works crash to earth stone cold dead. There have been disasters elsewhere, too, though ENO is the chief culprit, and (after a miserable Merry Widow and a fearful Fledermaus) this one is the nail in the coffenbach.

Read more...

The Silver Lake, English Touring Opera review - shadows of the Weimar twilight

Boyd Tonkin

Almost exactly a century after the Weimar Republic’s constitution took effect, English Touring Opera presents a show whose birth coincided with the Republic's untimely death.

Read more...

The Seraglio, English Touring Opera review – focused and light

Gavin Dixon

No great innovations in this Seraglio – as ETO are styling Mozart’s early Singspiel (its full title in translation is The Abduction from the Seraglio – but a traditional staging that makes the most of all the work’s characters and quirks.

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

Radio & Juliet/Faun/McGregor + Mugler review - a fashion...

A pas de deux is normally an opportunity for two dancers to express the pinnacle of their skill and...

Dinosaur Pile-Up, O2 Institute, Birmingham review - grungy p...

Dinosaur Pile-Up may have been around for more than a decade, but it would be fair to say that their career has been something of a slow burn....

Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Agnew, Barbican review – spl...

“How many times have you heard the conductor sing?” asked William Christie after the final number, but before the two encores, of last night’s...

Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch, BBCSO, Bychkov, Barbican revie...

“Hieronymus!” bellowed David Wilson Johnson from the Barbican...

Cyrano de Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre review - James McAvoy...

Actor James McAvoy is much in demand: in the BBC's His Dark Materials he is busy saving a parallel world, while in the poetic universe of...

theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Semyon Bychkov in Prague

It's a very big deal for musical Prague: Czechia's symphonic...

Elizabeth Is Missing, BBC One review - a tender but tough-mi...

In films, as in life, unreliable narrators are not hard to find. But there is something remarkable about the unreliable narrator of Elizabeth...

The Cave review - heroic Syrian hospital workers

War crimes are war crimes, irrespective of the victims’...

Choirs of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, Wickham, K...

At this time of year the musical world – and particularly the...