mon 18/01/2021

Opera Reviews

Der Freischütz, Barbican review - Gothic chills rooted in flesh and earth

alexandra Coghlan

It’s hard to believe that in 1824 there were no fewer than six productions of Weber’s Der Freischütz in London alone. Since then this colourful piece of German Romanticism hasn’t fared nearly so well, disappearing from the UK’s opera houses not just for years but decades at a time.

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The Mask of Orpheus, English National Opera review - amorphous excess

David Nice

Advance publicity overstated the case for The Mask of Orpheus. "Iconic"? Only to academics and acolytes, for British audiences haven't had a chance to see a production since ENO's world premiere run in 1986. "Masterpiece"?

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The Cunning Little Vixen, Welsh National Opera review - family night in the forest

stephen Walsh

Considering that Janáček’s Vixen is, among other things, an allegory of the passing and returning years, it’s appropriate that WNO continue to recycle David Pountney’s now nearly 40-year-old production, and that it comes up each time refreshed, with this or that altered or added detail, but quantum-like the same general image.

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Orpheus in the Underworld, English National Opera review – ENO goes to hell

Jessica Duchen

Maybe some British opera houses just don’t get operetta. Without wit, lightness and snappy pace, cudgelling us with desperate relevance, the frothiest works crash to earth stone cold dead. There have been disasters elsewhere, too, though ENO is the chief culprit, and (after a miserable Merry Widow and a fearful Fledermaus) this one is the nail in the coffenbach.

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The Silver Lake, English Touring Opera review - shadows of the Weimar twilight

Boyd Tonkin

Almost exactly a century after the Weimar Republic’s constitution took effect, English Touring Opera presents a show whose birth coincided with the Republic's untimely death.

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The Seraglio, English Touring Opera review – focused and light

Gavin Dixon

No great innovations in this Seraglio – as ETO are styling Mozart’s early Singspiel (its full title in translation is The Abduction from the Seraglio – but a traditional staging that makes the most of all the work’s characters and quirks.

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Orpheus and Eurydice, English National Opera review – imaginative but underwhelming

Gavin Dixon

English National Opera chose a curiously low-key production to open their season. Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice has only three singing roles and very little action. For this production, Wayne McGregor has reimagined the work as an opera/dance hybrid.

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Rigoletto, Welsh National Opera review - same old update, fine performance

stephen Walsh

Considering the doubtfulness of its underlying idea, James Macdonald’s production of Rigoletto has shown remarkable staying power since its Cardiff début 17 years ago.

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The Intelligence Park, Linbury Theatre review - baroque to the point of obscurity

David Nice

Could Gerald Barry's first opera really be as enervating in the Royal Opera House's Linbury Theatre as it seemed nearly 30 years ago at its Almeida Music Festival premiere?

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Agrippina, Royal Opera review - carry on up the Campidoglio

David Nice

It was said of the Venetian audiences randy for the satirical antique of Handel's first great operatic cornucopia in 1709 that "a stranger who should have seen the manner in which they were affected, would have imagined they were all distracted".

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