thu 24/09/2020

Opera Reviews

Fidelio, Garsington Opera review - heart of darkness, light-filled liberation

David Nice

It may be only six and a half months since many of us saw a production of Beethoven’s Fidelio in the opera house, but that was another world, and this post-lockdown admittance to Garsington Opera’s spacious, award-winning pavilion with its impressive acoustic was always going to be something extraordinary.

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La bohème, Scottish Opera – pandemic Puccini

Christopher Lambton

Picture the scene. A vast steel gazebo covers a nondescript parking lot next to an industrial unit in Glasgow. With a clear plastic covering, it is the most rudimentary of shelters, sides open to admit the roar of the M8 and the wailing of sirens, carried on a keen autumnal breeze.

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The Royal Opera: Live in Concert review - Italianate fizz with a patch of flatness

David Nice

What could be better than Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro to celebrate the Royal Opera’s next step on the path out of lockdown? Ideally, the rest of the opera, especially remembering Antonio Pappano’s lively interaction with his singers playing the continuo role.

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Sāvitri, Lauderdale House review - death and life in a Highgate garden

David Nice

In seach of Orpheus, and following a route from the Hades of (thankfully) masked beings on the underground to Archway, then up to a windy, grassy plateau just below Highgate village, this wandering critic encountered another myth about the power of life over death.

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The Encore, Opera Holland Park review - stylish return for a squad of old friends

Boyd Tonkin

As Dvořák’s "Song to the Moon" from Rusalka rose to its impassioned climax, Natalya Romaniw had to battle a helicopter thumping overhead. The helicopter lost (well, of course it did).

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Heart's Delight, Opera Holland Park review - a classy hour of operetta pops

David Nice

Nostalgia of all kinds played a part in this summer evening’s divertissement. Some audience members were probably remembering when operetta held a greater sentimental sway than it does now; many would have been thinking of the full Opera Holland Park seasons – a proper theatre with raised seating, covered stagings, full orchestra and chorus – on what was now the bare terraced spot in front of the semi-derelict house.

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Moses und Aron, Komische Oper Berlin, OperaVision review – complex and powerful memorial

Gavin Dixon

Barrie Kosky’s production of Moses und Aron was staged at the Komische Oper Berlin in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Schoenberg’s opera is philosophical and open to a variety of interpretations.

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Elektra, Salzburg Festival, Arte review - distancing, but not in the physical sense

David Nice

So much for the assertion that nowhere in the world would be staging the big Strauss and Wagner operas for the indefinite future. With a combination of lavish funding and good pandemic management on Austria's part, it’s been possible in Salzburg...

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The Opera Story: Episodes review - whimsical takes on lockdown life

Bernard Hughes

The Opera Story is an enterprising set-up based in London and founded with a mission to commission and stage new operas by early career composers. They have so far produced three full-scale pieces, the earliest from 2017, performed in a reclaimed warehouse space in Peckham.

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Don Giovanni/Sibelius plus, Swedish RSO, Harding, livestream review - dark studio rituals

David Nice

"Touch her and you die," sings Masetto in telling Don Giovanni to keep away from his Zerlina. There's certainly trouble, though not instant death, when fingers briefly meet.

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