fri 07/08/2020

Opera Reviews

Luisa Miller, English National Opera review - Verdi in translation makes a stylish comeback

David Nice

Those who booed the production team last night - there was nothing but generous cheering for singers, conductor and orchestra - might reflect that this was at least regietheater, that singular brand of not-all-bad director's opera in Germany, with discipline and purpose close enough to its subject.

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Les vêpres siciliennes, Welsh National Opera review - spectacular, silly, but some great music

stephen Walsh

It’s not hard to see why The Sicilian Vespers has struggled since its surprisingly successful opening run at the Paris Opéra in 1855. Verdi had composed it reluctantly, despised the librettist, Eugène Scribe, who he regarded as a well-named cynical scribbler, and tried unsuccessfully to get a release from his contract.

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Alice's Adventures Under Ground, Royal Opera review - a blast for children of all ages

David Nice

"About as much fun as you can have with your clothes on," promised a member of the two Royal Opera casts teamworking their way through multiple roles and costume changes for what in effect is Alice's Adventures Under Ground and Through the Looking Glass in under an hour.

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Ermonela Jaho, Stephen Maughan, Wigmore Hall review – emotional honesty in rare repertoire

Sebastian Scotney

Wigmore Hall audiences don’t usually roar. But when a star soprano who has already made her mark at the world’s major opera houses pays a visit, they do.

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Siegfried, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - an incandescent journey to the mountain top

David Nice

Of Wagner's four Ring operas, Siegfried poses the biggest casting problem. Most heroic tenors with the lungs to last the evening are not going to be ideal incarnations of the stroppy adolescent who learns and fights his way through an often nightmarish fairy-tale landscape. Torsten Kerl, not an agile mover to say the least, certainly wasn't.

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Street Scene, Opera North review - a true ensemble achievement

Robert Beale

Kurt Weill’s “Broadway opera” – his own preferred description – is an extraordinary and brilliant piece of work.

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Sukanya, RFH review - Ravi Shankar's bright-eyed, varied fable

David Nice

Admirable as it was of the London Philharmonic Orchestra to launch its concerts in 2020 with a performance celebrating the Ravi Shankar centenary, the hard fact remains that this lively spectacle might have worked better without two-thirds of its players.

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prisoner of the state, Barbican review - beauty, but where is the drama?

alexandra Coghlan

You can see the temptation.

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Best of 2019: Opera

David Nice

There's no question about my top opera choice for 2019, especially since the London houses rarely delivered at the same pitch of engagement. It's Graham Vick's walkabout Birmingham Opera Company spectacular, a production of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk that worked on every level.

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Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

David Nice

"Sadler's Wells! Any more for Peter Grimes, the sadistic fisherman?," a cheery bus conductor is alleged to have called out around the time of this towering masterpiece's premiere in 1945.

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