wed 12/08/2020

Opera Reviews

Carmen, Royal Opera

Adam Sweeting

Buoyed by winning the Classic FM Innovation award at Friday's Classic FM Gramophone Awards for its cut-price ticket offer for Sun readers, the Royal Opera House was at it again last night with the return of Francesca Zambello's production of Carmen.

Read more...

Tristan und Isolde, Royal Opera

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

There’s nothing like a bit of communal booing to sharpen your critical faculties. And Christof Loy’s new production of Tristan und Isolde at the Royal Opera House last night received wave after wave after wave of it. An ocean of boos almost as deep and profound as the Wagner that had just washed over us moments before.

Read more...

Werther, Opera North

graham Rickson

Werther is based on the young Goethe’s semi-autobiographical epistolary novel which tells of a young artist’s thwarted love for a simple country girl who is already engaged. First performed in Vienna in 1892, it is audibly a product of that time. You can hear the predominant influence of Wagner in piquant unresolved dissonances, suggestive of a fleeter-footed, gallic Tristan with added harps. The sheer depth and splendour of the music is what makes a potentially risible...

Read more...

Le Grand Macabre, ENO

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Door-sized detachable nipples, an angel of death with a dick to die for (literally), a cave of an arse housing a disco-dancing unit of storm troopers and an all-singing all-dancing couple of randy cadavers. Ever wondered what the Europeans might have done if they’d ever got hold of the Carry On brand? The ENO’s new production of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre offers up one possibility.

Read more...

Don Carlo, Royal Opera

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

It finally came just over three hours in. Ferruccio Furlanetto’s gouty Philip II leans his elbow on his chair and begins to grind his head into his right-hand like he's a human pestle and mortar. He first castigates himself for ever having thought that his wife, Elizabeth of Valois - who he suspects of sleeping with his son, Don Carlos - might have fancied his unyielding, aged presence, and then tries to sing his way out of his tortured predicament.

Read more...

Linda di Chamounix, Royal Opera

Edward Seckerson

The hills are alive with the sound of... well, Donizetti, actually. His mature "Melodramma Semiserio" Linda di Chamounix arrived towards the climax of a prolific career in opera and was clearly a late attempt to capitalise on his successes and give his adoring audiences a little of everything and at great length. This season-opener concert performance at the Royal Opera (recorded, incidentally, by Opera Rara...

Read more...

Così fan tutte, Grand Theatre, Leeds

graham Rickson

The film critic Mark Kermode maintains that if a film is advertised on the side of a bus, it will inevitably be rubbish. Opera North are advertising this revival of Tim Albery’s 2004 Così fan tutte extensively on the sides of buses here in Leeds. Kermode’s theorem evidently doesn’t hold for opera.

Read more...

Doctor Atomic, ENO

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Among the most astonishing moments in John Adams's new opera Doctor Atomic (currently running at the English National Opera) is an aria at the end of the first act. The eponymous brains behind the Manhattan Project, Dr J. Robert Oppenheimer, stands alone on stage with his new creation, a spherical A-bomb coated in wires and tubes like a patient in intensive care, and sings John Donne's holy sonnet "Batter my heart, three-person'd God".

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Cuba: Castro vs the World, BBC Two - turbulent life and time...

During World War Two, President Franklin D Roosevelt described the USA as “the arsenal of democracy”. Only a couple of decades later, Fidel Castro...

The Telephone, Scottish Opera/Cargill, RSNO, Søndergård, Edi...

Lockdown, perhaps more than any other time, has amplified how ...

New Music Unlocked 5: Biffy Clyro, Rave the Vote, Little Sim...

Although Metallica are screening a freshly recorded concert across America’s drive-in cinemas at the end of the month, we’re no nearer to actual...

Album: James Dean Bradfield - Even In Exile

One of the most evocative tracks on James Dean Bradfield’s second solo album is hardly his at all. The Manic Street Preacher takes “La...

Matt Haig: The Midnight Library review - an uplifting modern...

TW: This article discusses suicide, suicidal ideation, antidepressants and self-harm 

We first meet Nora Seed, “nineteen years before...

The Adulterer, Channel 4 review - atmospheric, addictive and...

It has taken a good half decade for the Dutch series ...

Blindness, Donmar Warehouse review - a beautifully haunting...

Wowee! Twenty weeks after the last time I set foot in a theatre, I...

Album: Tanya Donelly and The Parkington Sisters

It’s exciting to come to an album with no preconceptions and no context and find you fall immediately in love with it. Tanya Donelly is probably...