sat 20/04/2019

Opera Reviews

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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Bernstein's MASS, RFH review - polymorphousness in excelsis

David Nice

Live exposure to centenary composer Leonard Bernstein's anything-goes monsterpiece of 1971, as with Britten's War Requiem of the previous decade, probably shouldn't happen more than once every ten years, if only because each performance has to be truly special.

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Coraline, Royal Opera, Barbican review - spooky story, underwhelming score

David Nice

With the eyes of musical fashion turned relentlessly on the calculating stage works of chilly alchemist George Benjamin, hopes ran high for a brighter spark in a new opera by his contemporary Mark-Anthony Turnage.

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The Marriage of Figaro, English National Opera review - sassy, probing and splendidly cast

Jessica Duchen

One year to Brexit, a seemingly endless winter chill and Londoners need soul food, badly. I prescribe an evening of total immersion in The Marriage of Figaro.

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