fri 22/03/2019

Opera Reviews

Così fan tutte, Opera Holland Park review - the pain behind the prettiness

Boyd Tonkin

A proper production of Così fan tutte should make you feel as if the script for a barrel-scraping Carry On film has been hi-jacked by Shakespeare and Chekhov – working as a team. The story is so silly (even nasty), the music so sublime.

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Die Zauberflöte, Garsington Opera review - visually stimulating, conceptually confusing

alexandra Coghlan

Something is afoot at Garsington this season. Walking past the lake you might just catch sight of three strange figures in the distance – white-clad pawns engaged in a solemn game of human chess. Continue towards the auditorium and, somewhere among the topiary, there’s a splash of colour. A man with the cap and long red robes of an Inquisitor stands silently and contemplates the statuary. Opera, once again it seems, has fallen through the looking glass.

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Der Rosenkavalier, Glyndebourne - detailed acting, great singing

David Nice

If Hugo von Hofmannsthal's libretto for Richard Strauss in their joint "comedy for music" is the apogee of elaborately referenced dialogue and stage directions in opera, Richard Jones's realisation - for all that it throws out much of the original rulebook - may well be the most rigorously detailed production on the operatic stage today.

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Madama Butterfly, Glyndebourne review - perverse staging, outstanding cast

stephen Walsh

Puccini’s heroines and the rough treatment he hands out to them have come in for plenty of opprobrium over the years.

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The Rosenkavalier film, OAE, Paterson, QEH review - silent-era muddle expertly accompanied

David Nice

Let's face it, Robert "Cabinet of Dr Caligari" Wiene's 1926 film loosely based on Strauss and Hofmannsthal's 1911 "comedy for music" is a mostly inartistic ramble. Historically, though, it proves fascinating.

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Lessons in Love and Violence, Royal Opera review - savage elegance never quite glows red-hot

alexandra Coghlan

A rope is mercy; a razor-blade to the throat, a kiss; a red-hot poker… But, of course, we never get anything so literal as the poker in George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s elegant, insinuating retelling of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II.

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Eugene Onegin, Scottish Opera review - sweepingly sumptuous Tchaikovsky

Miranda Heggie

It’s 25 years since Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin last came to the Scottish Opera stage, and this brand new production, directed by Oliver Mears, DIrector of Opera at The Royal Opera, gives the stirring score a stately yet elusive grandeur.

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4.48 Psychosis, Royal Opera, Lyric Hammersmith review - despairing truth in song and speech

David Nice

Depression, with or without psychotic episodes, is a rare subject for drama or music theatre - and with good reason: the sheer unrelenting monotony of anguish and self-absorption is hard to reproduce within a concentrated time-span.

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The Marriage of Figaro, English Touring Opera review - vanilla Mozart still tastes sweet

Richard Bratby

The Fates did not want theartsdesk to review English Touring Opera’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro.

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Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Royal Opera review - bleak rigour and black comedy still cast a spell

David Nice

Anyone who's seen Richard Jones's rigorous production before will remember the makeover – Katerina Izmailova, bored and brutalised housewife released by sex and murder from her shackles, having her drab bedroom expanded and redecorated in deliberate incongruity with Shostakovich's most shattering orchestral music – and its polar opposite, the near-black horror of convicts in trucks by the river on...

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