mon 20/05/2019

Opera Reviews

Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel, English National Opera review - powerful ensemble, wrong subject

David Nice

If you can’t put a name to any of Jack the Ripper’s victims – and spin it however you please, victims they remain – then you shouldn’t buy the publicity about this new opera "bringing dignity back" to the murdered women in question. Isn’t it time to stop feeding the troll/killer, much as Jacinda Ardern did so swiftly and movingly under different circumstances last week, and let the five eviscerated corpses return to dust in peace?

Read more...

Berenice, Royal Opera/London Handel Festival review - luminous shenanigans in the Linbury

David Nice

It might be the nature of Handel's operatic beasts, but performances tend to fall into two camps: brilliant in the fusion of drama and virtuosity, singing and playing, or boring to various degrees.

Read more...

Elizabeth I/Macbeth, English Touring Opera review - elegance and eeriness

Richard Bratby

A crash, a scurry, a long, lilting serenade – the overture to Rossini’s Elizabeth I sounds oddly familiar. Not to worry. English Touring Opera has anticipated our confusion.

Read more...

La forza del destino, Royal Opera review - generous voices, dramatic voids

David Nice

When "Maestro" Riccardo Muti left the Royal Opera's previous production of Verdi's fate-laden epic, disgusted by minor changes to fit the scenery on the Covent Garden stage, no-one was sorry when Antonio Pappano, the true master of the house then only two years into his glorious reign, took over.

Read more...

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Birmingham Opera Company review - searing music-theatre for all

David Nice

A rum cove sidles up pimping with a tatty business card offering the services of Sonyetka. Not for me, I say, pointing out that in any case she’ll be dead three hours later. "That's more than I know," he says and wanders off to hook other possible clients. Further on, rodent-headed creatures flit by. One seems to be in an altercation with a Rentokil officer. Odd, too, that there should be policemen parading the disco-lit, dilipidated Tower Ballroom on the edge of Edgbaston Reservoir.

Read more...

Idomeneo, English Touring Opera review – honest excellence

Boyd Tonkin

Selfish, cunning, cynical, the older generation has screwed up the world with aggression abroad and dishonesty at home. Can their children make it good again? This family drama of transgression and reparation threads through Idomeneo, the opera that Mozart – who had his own troublesome issues with both biological fathers and father-figure patrons – premiered in Munich in 1781.

Read more...

Robin Hood, The Opera Story, CLF Café review - folk hero re-imagined as Tory villain

Bernard Hughes

What’s the one thing everyone knows about Robin Hood? That he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. So it was quite a brave decision to re-cast Robin as a rapacious Tory shires MP, doing his best to stop the poor becoming rich. At least, I think that was what happened: in much of the story is opaque, even having read the synopsis carefully.

Read more...

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Guildhall School review - earthy, energetic Britten

David Nice

It speaks vivid volumes for the superb health of our music colleges that the Guildhall School tackles every aspect of Britten's long and layered Shakespeare adaptation with total confidence.

Read more...

The Merry Widow, English National Opera review - glitter but no sparkle

alexandra Coghlan

It’s all there. High kicks and tight corsets; silk and sequins and shenanigans in a broom closet; hot pinks and still hotter can-can girls; waltzing, scheming, sparring, and a bit with a banquet table. There’s even a dancing beaver. So why don’t I feel more elated?

Read more...

Così fan tutte, Royal Opera review - fine singing and elegant deceits

Peter Quantrill

Give hope to all, says Despina: play-act. Così fan tutte has always been a piece about four young and silly people being appalling to one another without much need for encouragement from a cynical old manipulator and a confused maid who, in the main, is the one character capable of arousing real sympathy.

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

Hatton Gardens, ITV, review - ancient burglars bore again

Have we passed peak Hatton Garden? It’s now four years since a gang of old lags pulled off the biggest...

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...