sat 07/12/2019

Opera Reviews

Vanessa, Glyndebourne review - blowsy histrionics and a great finale

David Nice

"Sounds like an opera by Handel," said a friend when I told him that I was going to see Vanessa at Glyndebourne.

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Proms 25 / 26 review - Russian masters, noodling guitar, late-night perfection

David Nice

Sometimes the more modestly scaled Proms work best in the Albert Hall. Not that there was anything but vast ambition and electrifying communication from soprano Anna Prohaska and the 17-piece Il Giardino Armonico under Giovanni Antonini, making that 18 when he chose to take up various pipes (★★★★★).

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SWAP'ra Gala, Opera Holland Park review - all-women stars and scenes

David Nice

Two women, Julia Sporsén's female Composer and Jennifer France's Zerbinetta in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, stole most hearts with their togetherness at Holland Park recently.

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Pagliacci, Scottish Opera review - roll up, roll up for opera like never before!

Miranda Heggie

Yes it’s opera, but not as you know it.

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Saul, Glyndebourne review - from extravaganza to phantasmagoria

David Nice

It's swings and roundabouts for Glyndebourne this season. After the worst of one director currently in fashion, Stefan Herheim, in the unhappy mésalliance of the house's Pelléas et Mélisande, only musically gripping, comes the already-known best of another, Barrie Kosky.

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L'Ange de Nisida / JPYAP Summer Programme, Royal Opera - buoyant touch in Donizetti bagatelle

David Nice

Two rules should help the non-Donizettian: avoid all stagings of the prolific Bergamasco's nearly 70 operas other than the comedies; and seek the guarantee of top bel canto stylists.

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Ariadne auf Naxos, Opera Holland Park - stylish staging, world-class singing

David Nice

"When the new god approaches, we surrender, struck dumb". Especially if, for the singer of those words, popular entertainer Zerbinetta, the “new god” takes the shape of same-sex love.

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Prom 5, Pelléas et Mélisande, Glyndebourne review - for the ears, not the eyes

stephen Walsh

What a fabulous score Pelléas et Mélisande is, and what a joy to be able to hear it in a concert performance without the distraction of some over-sophisticated director’s self-communings. Well, if only.

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Isabeau, Opera Holland Park review - Mascagni's lumpy Godiva-ride rarity

David Nice

Valiant Opera Holland Park, always taking up the gauntlet for Italian operas which should mostly never be staged again. Worst was Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini, where musical ambition vastly outruns technique and inspiration. Mascagni's Iris with its hideous misogyny has now been followed by the same composer's Isabeau of 1911, turgid of libretto and dramaturgy.

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Ariadne auf Naxos, Longborough Festival review - appetising energy and wit

stephen Walsh

Much as I love Strauss’s Ariadne in its final form, I have a sneaking nostalgia for the original version (attached to Hofmannsthal’s adaptation of Molière’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme), which had Zerbinetta and her companions popping up after the final love duet and gently letting out some of its gas.

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