wed 22/05/2019

Opera Reviews

theartsdesk in Paris - following in the footsteps of Gounod

alexandra Coghlan

It’s a truism that history is written by the victors, but nowhere in classical music is the argument made more persuasively than in the legacy and reputation of Charles Gounod.

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The Path to Heaven, RNCM, Manchester review - tragedy, truth, passion

Robert Beale

Adam Gorb’s The Path to Heaven, with libretto by Ben Kaye, is his longest work to date (almost two hours’ running time without interval) and on a story that could hardly be more tragic – the Holocaust.

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Kiss Me, Kate, Opera North, London Coliseum review - Cole Porter delivered in true company style

David Nice

First palpable hit of the evening: a full orchestra in the pit under hyper-alert Opera North stalwart James Holmes, saxophones deliciously rampant. Second hit: they've got the miking of the voices right (very rare in West End shows). Third: the first ensemble number, "Another opening, another show", sends spirits soaring.

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Falstaff, Garsington Opera review - Sir John under pressure

Sebastian Scotney

All those pranks, set-ups, fake letters and disguises, they just keep coming thick and fast in Verdi’s Falstaff. The score has irresistible energy and momentum.

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Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, Opera North, City Varieties Music Hall review - life as a cabaret

graham Rickson

Peer at the small print and it’s clear that Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill is actually a spruced-up repackaging of a show originally devised by Gene Lerner and arranger Newton Wayland, about whom Opera North’s programme tells us nothing.

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Mamzer Bastard, Royal Opera, Hackney Empire review - inert Hasidic music-drama

David Nice

Striking it lucky with a successful new opera is a rare occurrence, though every company has a duty to keep on trying.

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Acis and Galatea, English National Opera, Lilian Baylis House review - Handel for the hashtag generation

alexandra Coghlan

If you go to ENO’s Acis and Galatea expecting a grassy knoll draped decoratively with a Watteau shepherdess or two then you may be disappointed.

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Roscoe, BBC Philharmonic, Mena, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a scenic send-off

Robert Beale

Juanjo Mena, chief conductor of Manchester's BBC Philharmonic for the past seven years, took his official leave of them with a programme reflecting his great love, the music of his Spanish homeland.

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Giulio Cesare, Glyndebourne review - no weak link

Sebastian Scotney

What a great show, on every level. David McVicar’s Glyndebourne production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare, originally staged in 2005, and in its third revival this year, has a cast without a weak link, and never fails to draw in the audience to the work’s cycles of power, suffering, death and intermittent triumph...

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Un ballo in maschera, Grange Park Opera review – singing out against the American grain

Boyd Tonkin

Stumble across Grange Park Opera’s new brick-clad “Theatre in the Woods”, nestled amid a labyrinth of gardens and orchards next to the rambling Tudor pile of West Horsley Place in Surrey, and on a mild June evening you may feel as if you have fallen into some Home Counties version of a magic-realist novel.

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