mon 08/03/2021

Opera Reviews

Die tote Stadt, Komische Oper Berlin, OperaVision review – when catharsis goes missing

Jessica Duchen

A word about grief. Many of us have learned a lot about it this past year; many knew about it before that. When someone we love dies, we grieve. This is normal. This is human. It is agony, but it’s not actually a mental illness. Having Paul, the hero (or anti-hero) of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Die tote Stadt be marched off stage by those in white coats at the end is therefore not only a directorial cop-out.

Read more...

Tony and the Young Artists, Royal Opera/Liebeslieder Waltzes, Blackheath Halls online review - love and joy

David Nice

Young performers seeking platforms for their careers have had it especially rough over the past year, most slipping through the financial-support net and now facing the further blow of the Brexit visa debacle. So it’s always good to welcome quality streamings supporting their progress.

Read more...

Der Freischütz, Bavarian State Opera online review – marksmen as marketeers

Gavin Dixon

Bavarian State Opera has led the way for live performances and associated broadcasts during the pandemic. Their series of weekly “Montagsstück” events have presented innovative chamber operas, specifically for web streaming. Their next goal is full-size opera with a live audience. That is not possible yet, so instead they are premiering a new production of Weber’s Der Freischütz.

Read more...

Hansel and Gretel, Scottish Opera online - bewitching feast for ears but not eyes

David Nice

Christmas isn’t just for Christmas, Daisy Evans’s bargain-basement fir-trees-and-tinsel production of Humperdinck’s evergreen masterpiece seems to be telling us.

Read more...

Netrebko, Met Stars Live in Concert online review - flashy performance from operatic powerhouse

Miranda Heggie

Though the global pandemic has brought about an unprecedented degree of isolation, it’s also, in unusual ways, brought us together too. Visiting New York’s Metropolitan Opera House is currently an impossible dream - the house is still completely dark.

Read more...

The Turn of the Screw, OperaGlass Works online review - the fright is in the filming

David Nice

It’s second time lucky for OperaGlass Works, whose previous production at Wilton’s Music Hall, of Stravinsky’s The Rake's Progress, hit the mark for me in the singing but not the staging. I suspect that had we been there in the auditorium with performers all too palpable, the same might have been true of The Turn of the Screw in this venue.

Read more...

Holy Sonnets/The Heart's Assurance/A Charm of Lullabies, English Touring Opera online review - darkest hours

Boyd Tonkin

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/ Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.” John Donne’s Holy Sonnets may summon all his art of wit and paradox to mock that might and dread; still, we sense the abject terror behind the formal acrobatics of the verse. Benjamin Britten wrote his great settings of these great poems after a visit to the liberated Bergen-Belsen camp with Yehudi Menuhin in summer 1945.

Read more...

Romances on British Poetry / The Poet's Echo, English Touring Opera online review - Britten and Shostakovich in a double mirror

Richard Bratby

A darkened stage; a pool of light; a solitary figure. And then, flooding the whole thing with meaning, music – even it’s just a soft chord on a piano. It’s no secret to any opera goer that even the barest outlines of a staging can magnify the dramatic potential of a piece of music to a point when it can seem like a completely new work.

Read more...

Best of 2020: Opera

David Nice

Surreal fantasy came off best this year, before and after the fall.

Read more...

Royal Opera Christmas Concert online review – pajama party around the Nutcracker tree

David Nice

So Hansel and Gretel can’t cuddle up together in the dark forest, Musetta doesn’t fall into long-suffering lover Marcello’s arms and there’s no audience to play to (as there would have been three days earlier).

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Reissue CDs Weekly: Sly & The Viscaynes - Yellow Moon Th...

The Viscaynes ought to have been a footnote. A minor footnote. From Vallejo in north California, they were one amongst many early Sixties vocal...

Blu-ray: Marlene Dietrich at Universal 1940-1942

Her glory years as the muse of Josef von Sternberg long gone, Marlene Dietrich had been labelled “box-office poison” and was sulking on the French...

Berlinale 2021: Petite Maman review – magical musings on the...

Hot on the heels of her 2019 triumph Portrait of a Lady on Fire,...

Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliche review - memorialising her mothe...

There was always something a little diffident about teenage Marion Elliott-Said, who created her on-stage persona Poly Styrene after putting...

Album: Genesis Owusu - Smiling With No Teeth

The debut album by Australian-Ghanaian artist Genesis...

Two LSO concerts on Marquee TV review - vibrant triptyches

In amongst the heavy-hearted duty of supporting orchestras by watching their concert streamings – not something I’d do by choice – there are two...

Coming 2 America review - Eddie Murphy returns as African Pr...

Eddie Murphy – one of the biggest stars of the 1980s – has taken...

Into the Darkness review - disappointingly soapy Danish WWII...

Can a film be both too long and too short? If so, Into the...

Album: Zara Larsson - Poster Girl

Best known for winning Sweden's version of Got Talent...