sun 15/12/2019

Opera Reviews

The Marriage of Figaro, Dragon Opera, The Gate, Cardiff

stephen Walsh Llio Evans and Annie Sheen as Susanna and Cherubino: Witty, eye-catching, uninhibited

Dragon Opera (or Opera’r Ddraig, if you insist: they don’t) is in every sense a young company, founded a mere two years ago, and based at Cardiff’s Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Its singers, directors and orchestral players are nearly all recent or current students at the college, the company is run by recent graduates, and its funding is set up by a student collective called RepCo, run from the RWCMD, and parent also to a couple of student orchestras and a community...

Read more...

Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

alexandra Coghlan

“Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light – were all like workings of one mind.” Writing almost a century after Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Wordsworth was still contemplating the essential duality of the sublime – that greatest of Enlightenment legacies. Rationalism, order and science, we are reminded, are only the admissible part of an age that would also beget the sinister fantasies of Romanticism and the Gothic – those most pernicious of bastard offspring.

Read more...

Lucrezia Borgia, English National Opera

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

When future historians write the story of 21st-century film, Mike Figgis will play a founding father-like role. Figgis's Timecode (2000) was one of the world's first and most ambitious digital films. I still remember the excitement the day I saw it, the unified screen before me shattering into shards of narrative. This was the first film to sing in four simultaneously cast parts in the manner of a Bach fugue.

Read more...

Rameau's Castor et Pollux, Theater an der Wien

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

For us Ramistes the brilliance came as no surprise. But did the genius come across to the uninitiated? This new production of Castor et Pollux, one of Rameau's finest tragédie en musique, was the Baroque composer's Austrian stage premiere.

Read more...

Il barbiere di Siviglia, Royal Opera

alexandra Coghlan

Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia comes gift-wrapped in its own candy-striped box – packaging that sets the tone for the brittle, sugary entertainment within. Trading satire for slapstick, politics for aesthetics, and subversion for celebration, the production is generous in laughs but lingers scarcely longer in the mind than on the lips. With previous alumni including Mark Elder, Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez, there are some long...

Read more...

Carmen, Opera North

graham Rickson

“If you’re not careful, the opening act could become a costume parade: there are the townspeople, the children, the guards, the factory women – up to 350 people on stage in 20 minutes, before Carmen even enters, singing a catchy jingle from a recent TV advert.” So wrote director Daniel Kramer in last week’s Guardian. This may fill Carmen fans with nervous apprehension, but none should be felt, as this production is one of the most visually spectacula

Read more...

Hänsel und Gretel, Royal Opera

ismene Brown

Fairy tales are fear tales really, the sweetening (and sharpening) of every child’s worst nightmares, emotions long buried in adulthood but very easily tapped back into with good theatre productions. The Witch in Hansel and Gretel should be the queen of the team of the ogres who lurk in forests or homes waiting to kill children, along with lieutenants the Wolf in Red Riding Hood, Snow White’s wicked stepmother and Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty.

Read more...

Bellérophon in Concert, Les Talens Lyriques, Rousset, Versailles

David Nice

bellerophon-front

Read more...

Tannhäuser, Royal Opera

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

The double standards in opera are amazing. If heldentenor Johan Botha - a man the size of a small Eastern European country - had been a woman, he would have been refused re-entry to the stage till he'd had a gastric band fitted. But his size was the least of our worries.

Read more...

Handel's Alcina, Barbican

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Classical music does not get any cooler than mezzo Vesselina Kasarova. She jived. She grooved. She shuffled. She shimmied. She possessed the Barbican stage last night, an awesome black jumpsuit hanging off her rangy, kinetic figure, her neck sliding about like an Indian dancer's, her feet (in kitten heels) spinning like a jazzer's, her bullying arms posturing and prodding, her mouth flashing its whites like a primate's. Her voice? Extraordinarily weird, moving, honest, explosive. Her...

Read more...

Pages

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

latest in today

Reissue CDs Weekly: Jim Sullivan

Hugh Hefner established Playboy Records in 1972 as an arm of...

CD: Harry Styles - Fine Line

Not all One Direction solo albums are created equally, and after Liam Payne...

Citizen K review - real power in Russia

Putin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky are “strong”, a...

Pink Wall review - scattered scenes from a tortuous relation...

What Jenna (Tatiana Maslany, star of Orphan Black), likes doing is wrangling and coordinating, not creating – she hates that - which...

Caravaggio & Bernini, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna -...

It doesn’t matter where you stand, whether you crouch, or teeter on tiptoe: looking into the eyes of...

Albums of the Year 2019: Imperial Wax - Gastwerk Saboteurs

No-one needs to be told that 2019 was a year which saw the UK, USA and many other countries looking somewhat at unease with themselves. Inevitably...

Teenage Dick, Donmar Warehouse review - a fearlessly acted,...

If good intentions were everything, Teenage Dick would be the play of the year. As it is, this British premiere at the...

Bauer, CBSO, Koenig, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - Chris...

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s programmes in ...