wed 20/03/2019

Opera Reviews

Porgy and Bess, English National Opera review - strength in depth on Catfish Row

Boyd Tonkin

After exhausting years of financial and artistic crisis-management at the Coliseum, English National Opera urgently needed an ironclad, feelgood success. This season’s opener, a somewhat idiosyncratic take on Strauss’s Salome, was unlikely to fit that bill.

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Solomon, Royal Opera review - an awkward compromise of a performance

alexandra Coghlan

There was no synopsis in the programme for the Royal Opera’s concert performance of Handel’s Solomon. Maybe that was an oversight, but perhaps it’s simply because there really is no plot to summarise.

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Opolais, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Nelsons, RFH review - splendid and awful stretches

David Nice

Latvia is fighting fit. The recent elections did not see the expected victory for the pro-Kremlin Harmony party; support for the European Union and NATO will be well represented.

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Radamisto, English Touring Opera review - propulsive, lively Handel

Gavin Dixon

Baroque repertoire doesn’t seem to register on most British opera company’s schedules these days, so it is good to see ETO devoting their autumn season to Handel, Purcell and Bach, with some additions from Carissimi and Gesualdo for good measure. Their first production, Handel’s Radamisto, is a good choice for touring, a compact six-hander with strong characters and great music.

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BBC Philharmonic, Wellber, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - new conductor’s debut

Robert Beale

Two days after announcing his appointment as their next chief conductor (he takes the reins officially next summer, in time for the Proms), by remarkable good fortune the Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic was able to present Omer Meir Wellber as the conductor of their second Bridgewater Hall series concert.

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Dido and Aeneas, Academy of Ancient Music, Barbican review – prosthetic passions

Boyd Tonkin

 “War Horse has a lot to answer for,” grumbled, or joked, my neighbour as the white-draped and white-faced puppet of the Queen of Carthage lay crumpled on the floor at the close of Thomas Guthrie’s semi-staged production of Dido and Aeneas. Well, not just War Horse.

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Götterdämmerung, Royal Opera review - a fiery finale to this ambiguous cycle

alexandra Coghlan

And so it ends. Flames give way to water, and as the Rhinemaidens resume their naked dance we come full circle – quite literally in Keith Warner’s Wagner Ring – back where we began, on the banks of the Rhine. Once again we find ourselves on the brink – but of what?

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Siegfried, Royal Opera review - a truly fearless hero

David Nice

Siegfried is usually the problem with Siegfried. Even Stuart Skelton, top Tristan and currently singing an acclaimed Siegmund in this last revival of Keith Warner's rattlebag Ring, won't touch the longest, toughest heroic-tenor role in Wagner, the protagonist of his third opera in the tetralogy.

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Salome, English National Opera review - a not so terrible stillness

David Nice

Sibling incest among the symbolic clutter of the Royal Opera Ring on Wednesday, last night necrophilia and a bit more incest – mother and daughter this time, courtesy of the director's imagination – in a stone-cold ENO Salome.

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Die Walküre, Royal Opera review – putting family before sex

Peter Quantrill

Perched alone and fearful in her hut as the curtain rises on Die Walküre, Sieglinde clutches and then throws aside a grimy teddy-bear. Story time is over. The nymphs and gold and bickering gods all belong in the past, to the ‘preliminary evening’ of Das Rheingold, or so Sieglinde might think. The real drama of Wagner's Ring begins here.

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