wed 03/06/2020

Opera Reviews

King Arthur, Spitalfields Music

alexandra Coghlan I Fagiolini: Baroque's vocal big-hitters

It’s not often that a performance of Purcell’s King Arthur requires its entire cast of singers to strip down to very tight Union Jack boxer shorts. It’s not often either that the audience find themselves actively encouraged to talk over the music, yet both were unexpectedly and riotously true last night at the...

Read more...

Tristan und Isolde, Opéra de Lyon

David Nice In the thicket of it: Wagner's lovers (Clifton Forbis and Ann Petersen) caught in flagrante by King Marke (Christof Fischesser)

Travelling by Eurostar, or plane, to the continent and buying a ticket, all for less than the cost of a Covent Garden stalls seat, might entice if you wanted to see a certain opera, singer or conductor. But to go so far for the look of a staging? Well, the Catalan company La Fura dels Baus’s phantasmagorical ENO production of Ligeti's Le grand macabre...

Read more...

Idomeneo, Barbican Hall

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Mozart's Idomeneo is subjected to a famous bit of abuse in Milos Forman's Amadeus. "A most tiresome piece," a courtier critic sniffs. "Too much spice. Too many notes." As it happens, not a wholly inaccurate statement. The work is quite an exotic curry of an early Classical opera.

Read more...

L'elisir d'amore, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore must be the only opera from whose central lesson one can actually learn something. Its message - drink, chill out, back off and the girl will be yours - is as good a moral guide to life as any. But it was still surprising to leave Glyndebourne last night satisfied.

Read more...

Simon Boccanegra, English National Opera

David Nice

Public feuding, private sorrows: the elemental passions of Verdi's Ligurian power struggle haven't had a vivid London staging since the Alden-Fielding ENO classic gave it a guiding (or, according to taste, hindering) giant hand in the late 1980s.

Read more...

Don Pasquale, Opera Holland Park

alexandra Coghlan Don Pasquale (Donald Maxwell) and Malatesta (Richard Burkhard): A genuinely comic double act

Nothing says summer opera quite like the skittish melodies and Neapolitan oom-pah-pah of a Donizetti overture. It doesn’t get much cheekier or more playful than this, the kind of music that makes you long for a pea shooter to pelt opera-goers with a stealthy fire of peanuts, or daub the bald head of the concert-goer in front of you during his Act II siesta. When set against the greenery and obbligato peacocks of...

Read more...

Tosca, Royal Opera

ismene Brown

Tosca-at-Covent-Garden is a commodity, like bacon-for-breakfast - a pricier commodity, to be true, at officially up to £229.50 a seat, but in both cases people want to get what they expect.

Read more...

Il Turco in Italia, Garsington Opera

Igor Toronyi-Lalic Don Geronio (Geoffrey Dalton) catches Fiorilla (Rebecca Nelson) and Selim (Quirijn de Lang) in flagrante: Oo-er missus

What would opera do without the postwar British sitcom? Garsington Opera's new production of Rossini's Il Turco in Italia at Wormsley last night saw yet another opera buffa being sold to 21st-century man using the gestural language of 'Allo 'Allo and Fawlty Towers. It was as easy and enjoyable as a night in with UK Gold - but much nicer, for we were surrounded by fields and forests.

Read more...

Rigoletto, Grange Park Opera

alexandra Coghlan

They say that old sins cast long shadows, but these are nothing compared to the shadows cast by old productions. To set Verdi’s Rigoletto in 1950s America inevitably courts comparison with that operatic patriarch, Jonathan Miller’s New York Mafia reworking.

Read more...

The Magic Flute, Garsington Opera

stephen Walsh

Tamino and Pamina, in Mozart’s great masonic opera, go through fire and water, as well as trials spiritual and emotional, before achieving their sunlit triumph at the end of it all. They would have sympathy with Anthony Whitworth-Jones and his Garsington Opera team in what must have been quite as frightening a battle to locate, plan, design and build their new pavilion on the Getty estate at Wormsley, near Stokenchurch on the M40, within barely more than a year.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Shutdown: The Virus That Changed Our World, Sky Documentarie...

It’s too early for a definitive account of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this was very much a...

First Person: Gabriel Prokofiev on 14 years of his Concerto...

For most people a turntable, or record player is used to play back old vinyls bought from a market or second hand store, or perhaps a carefully...

DVD/Blu-ray: Parasite

So what exactly is all the fuss about? For those of us from a cinema-deprived area, it’s been a long wait for the homevideo release of this much...

Philharmonia, Channel 4 review - death on the podium

Great idea to use a symphony orchestra as the basis for a TV drama, because all of human life is there. Not to mention death, since this...

Album: Sonic Boom - All Things Being Equal

Experiencing All Things Being Equal is akin to taking a trip through The Time Tunnel. Although the songs and the recordings on...

Matthew Kneale: Pilgrims review – adventures on the road to...

Some things really never change. After a blatant cheat perpetrated by a well-connected lout, one of the humblest pilgrims in Matthew Kneale’s band...

Moyra Davey: Index Cards review – fragments of the artist

Moyra Davey’s biographical note, included in Fitzcarraldo Editions’ copy of Index Cards, describes “a...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Edikanfo - The Pace Setters

Ghana was visited by two British musicians in the early Eighties. One was Mick Fleetwood, who recorded the Visitor album in Accra during...

Keiichiro Hirano: A Man review - the best kind of thriller

Keiichiro Hirano’s A Man has all the trappings of a ...

Blu-ray/DVD: Little Women

For the average female millennial, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is the perfect film to watch in lockdown. Brought up on Winona Ryder’...