mon 01/06/2020

Opera Reviews

The Greek Passion, Opera North - pertinence and power

graham Rickson

Martinů's The Greek Passion is a bold choice as a season opener, all the more so given that Opera North are staging the rarely-seen original version of his 1957 opera. Commissioned for Covent Garden then shabbily ditched, this is faster moving and more cinematic than the radically rewritten edition performed in Zurich two years after Martinů's death in 1959.

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Don Jo, Grimeborn review - conceptual style over musical substance

Miranda Heggie

Described as a "performer-led re-devising’"of Mozart’s 1787 opera Don Giovanni - a tale of an arrogant and ruthless lothario who seduced countess women - Don Jo certainly played around with many of the norms we encounter in both sexual relationships and in the operatic genre.

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Prom 59: Benvenuto Cellini, Monteverdi Choir, ORR, Gardiner review - don't stop the carnival

David Nice

So we never got the ultimate Proms spectacular, the four brass bands at the points of the Albert Hall compass for Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts, in the composer's 150th anniversary year.

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Prom 51: Die Zauberflöte, Glyndebourne review - smooth classic without depth

David Nice

Can we go back to an older Glyndebourne-at-the-Proms vintage, where the chosen production was merely sketched out with variations suited to the venue, and performed in whatever evening dress might be appropriate?

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Edinburgh International Festival 2019: Bach's Multiple Concertos/ Manon Lescaut reviews - dancing harpsichords, perfect Puccini

David Nice

Puccini's and Abbé Prévost's glitter-seduced Manon Lescaut might have been inclined to linger longer in the salon of dirty old man Geronte if he'd served her up not his own madrigals but Bach's music for various harpsichords and ensemble.

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Edinburgh International Festival 2019: Breaking the Waves, Scottish Opera/Opera Ventures review - great film makes a dodgy opera

David Nice

Love him or hate him, Lars von Trier has time and again made the unpalatable and the improbable real and shatteringly moving in a succession of great films. Breaking the Waves set an audacious precedent. Baldly told, it's a story of a mentally ill, deeply loving woman at odds with her Hebridean community who thinks she can save her paralysed husband by having sex with strangers and describing the acts to him.

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Edinburgh International Festival 2019: Eugene Onegin, Komische Oper review - no-holds-barred romanticism

Miranda Heggie

Returning to Edinburgh International Festival, Berlin's Komische Oper brought Barrie Kosky’s sumptuous production of Eugene Onegin to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. It’s a production that isn’t trying to do anything overly clever or convey a layered meaning; it’s simple in its grandeur in that it looks beautiful, sounds beautiful, and is faithful to Tchaikovsky’s music and Pushkin’s story.

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Rinaldo, Glyndebourne Festival review - teenage dreams

Miranda Heggie

If you’d started senior school when this production premiered, you’d be finished by now and out in the world of work or at university, your first year days a distant memory. A lot’s changed since the curtain first came up on this version in 2011, and nearly a decade on, and in the wake of #metoo, Robert Carsen’s high school-set production feels more than a little out of date.

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The Gondoliers, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company review - charm where it matters

Richard Bratby

Once more, gondolieri! Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers leaps into life to the sound of a saltarello: a blaze of Mediterranean sunshine and good natured exuberance that sweeps you some 20 minutes into Act One on the same unbroken surge of sparkling dance and ensemble song.

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L'Arlesiana, Opera Holland Park review - at last, a rare Italian gem

David Nice

So many second-rate Italian operas with good bits have been served up by Opera Holland Park and glitzier UK companies; despite best intentions and fine execution, none of the works by Mascagni, Zandonai, Alfano, Leoni, Ponchielli or Giordano has really flown.

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