sat 21/09/2019

Opera Reviews

Radamisto, English Touring Opera review - propulsive, lively Handel

Gavin Dixon

Baroque repertoire doesn’t seem to register on most British opera company’s schedules these days, so it is good to see ETO devoting their autumn season to Handel, Purcell and Bach, with some additions from Carissimi and Gesualdo for good measure. Their first production, Handel’s Radamisto, is a good choice for touring, a compact six-hander with strong characters and great music.

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BBC Philharmonic, Wellber, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - new conductor’s debut

Robert Beale

Two days after announcing his appointment as their next chief conductor (he takes the reins officially next summer, in time for the Proms), by remarkable good fortune the Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic was able to present Omer Meir Wellber as the conductor of their second Bridgewater Hall series concert.

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Dido and Aeneas, Academy of Ancient Music, Barbican review – prosthetic passions

Boyd Tonkin

 “War Horse has a lot to answer for,” grumbled, or joked, my neighbour as the white-draped and white-faced puppet of the Queen of Carthage lay crumpled on the floor at the close of Thomas Guthrie’s semi-staged production of Dido and Aeneas. Well, not just War Horse.

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Götterdämmerung, Royal Opera review - a fiery finale to this ambiguous cycle

alexandra Coghlan

And so it ends. Flames give way to water, and as the Rhinemaidens resume their naked dance we come full circle – quite literally in Keith Warner’s Wagner Ring – back where we began, on the banks of the Rhine. Once again we find ourselves on the brink – but of what?

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Siegfried, Royal Opera review - a truly fearless hero

David Nice

Siegfried is usually the problem with Siegfried. Even Stuart Skelton, top Tristan and currently singing an acclaimed Siegmund in this last revival of Keith Warner's rattlebag Ring, won't touch the longest, toughest heroic-tenor role in Wagner, the protagonist of his third opera in the tetralogy.

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Salome, English National Opera review - a not so terrible stillness

David Nice

Sibling incest among the symbolic clutter of the Royal Opera Ring on Wednesday, last night necrophilia and a bit more incest – mother and daughter this time, courtesy of the director's imagination – in a stone-cold ENO Salome.

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Die Walküre, Royal Opera review – putting family before sex

Peter Quantrill

Perched alone and fearful in her hut as the curtain rises on Die Walküre, Sieglinde clutches and then throws aside a grimy teddy-bear. Story time is over. The nymphs and gold and bickering gods all belong in the past, to the ‘preliminary evening’ of Das Rheingold, or so Sieglinde might think. The real drama of Wagner's Ring begins here.

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Das Rheingold, Royal Opera review - high drama and dark comedy

Gavin Dixon

Keith Warner’s production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen was first seen at Covent Garden between 2004 and 2006, and is now back for a third and final series of full runs, chiefly to catch the Brünnhilde of Nina Stemme in three of the operas, continuing into November.

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Isouard's Cendrillon, Bampton Classical Opera review - stepsisters shine in fairy-tale bagatelle

David Nice

Cinderella as opera in French: of late, the palm has always gone to Massenet's adorable (as in a-dor-Ah-bler) confection, and it should again soon when Glyndebourne offers a worthy home to the master's magic touch.

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Parsifal, Saffron Opera Group review - drama and focus

Gavin Dixon

It is a pleasure to report on the continuing success of the Saffron Opera Wagner project. The organisation was formed in 2013, and since then has presented concert performances of the Ring cycle and Meistersinger, and now Parsifal, all with an amateur orchestra and chorus and a cast of mostly lesser-known professionals.

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