sat 24/08/2019

Opera Reviews

Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, Opera North, City Varieties Music Hall review - life as a cabaret

graham Rickson

Peer at the small print and it’s clear that Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill is actually a spruced-up repackaging of a show originally devised by Gene Lerner and arranger Newton Wayland, about whom Opera North’s programme tells us nothing.

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Mamzer Bastard, Royal Opera, Hackney Empire review - inert Hasidic music-drama

David Nice

Striking it lucky with a successful new opera is a rare occurrence, though every company has a duty to keep on trying.

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Acis and Galatea, English National Opera, Lilian Baylis House review - Handel for the hashtag generation

alexandra Coghlan

If you go to ENO’s Acis and Galatea expecting a grassy knoll draped decoratively with a Watteau shepherdess or two then you may be disappointed.

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Roscoe, BBC Philharmonic, Mena, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a scenic send-off

Robert Beale

Juanjo Mena, chief conductor of Manchester's BBC Philharmonic for the past seven years, took his official leave of them with a programme reflecting his great love, the music of his Spanish homeland.

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Giulio Cesare, Glyndebourne review - no weak link

Sebastian Scotney

What a great show, on every level. David McVicar’s Glyndebourne production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare, originally staged in 2005, and in its third revival this year, has a cast without a weak link, and never fails to draw in the audience to the work’s cycles of power, suffering, death and intermittent triumph...

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Un ballo in maschera, Grange Park Opera review – singing out against the American grain

Boyd Tonkin

Stumble across Grange Park Opera’s new brick-clad “Theatre in the Woods”, nestled amid a labyrinth of gardens and orchards next to the rambling Tudor pile of West Horsley Place in Surrey, and on a mild June evening you may feel as if you have fallen into some Home Counties version of a magic-realist novel.

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Lohengrin, Royal Opera review - swan mystery musically illuminated

David Nice

It's awfully long for a fairytale in which a mystery prince helps a damsel in distress, and she asks him the question she shouldn't. Myth tends to go deeper, as Wagner did in The Ring of the Nibelung after Lohengrin. Here he captures the magic of transformation and transcendence, but in between there's too much hard-to-stage pomp.

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La finta semplice, Classical Opera, QEH review - consummate musicianship stokes early Mozart

David Nice

You can always be sure of impeccable casting and spirited playing as Ian Page takes his Classical Opera through Mozart year by year. Just don't expect more than the glimmer of genius to come in 1768, though.

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Der fliegende Holländer, Longborough Festival review - stand and deliver on an empty stage

stephen Walsh

Brilliant and innovative though it is in many respects, The Flying Dutchman is by no means a straightforward piece to stage. It’s an odd, sometimes uncomfortable mixture of the genre and the epic. At Sadler’s Wells in the sixties they had a little ship and a big ship that hove into view, a fishing village, sailors with tankards and striped shirts, and girls at looms.

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Capriccio, Garsington Opera review - a classy evening with words and music

David Nice

Like the comedies of Mozart – the genius the artistic milieu depicted in Capriccio seems to be waiting for, if its original 1770s setting is observed – the more conversational operas of Richard Strauss depend far more than one often realises on conducting that sets a stylish, buoyant pace.

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