thu 20/06/2019

Opera Reviews

The Turn of the Screw, ENO, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - one dimension, not four

David Nice

Opera and music theatre have set the birds shrilling in Regent's Park before in the shape of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess – a very forgettable production – and Sondheim's Into the Woods – much better, and a score which can give any 20th century opera a run for its money in terms of thematic interconnection.

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Partenope, Iford Arts review - a midsummer night's dream of a Handel comedy

alexandra Coghlan

Rejected by London’s Royal Academy of Music in 1726 on grounds of frivolity, Partenope is the ultimate Handelian rom-com – a comedy whose intriguing is carried out with a smile, a swagger and a sparkle in the eye.

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La Traviata, Longborough Festival review - muddled director, vocal mixed bag

stephen Walsh

One wearies of quarrelling with opera directors’ concepts. But what’s the alternative? To ignore or acquiesce in crude, approximate reimaginings that, like Daisy Evans's new La Traviata at Longborough, stuff a work any old how into some snappy, after-dinner parody that says nothing useful about the piece, vulgarises the situations and confuses or misrepresents the text. 

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The Abduction from the Seraglio, The Grange Festival review - enjoyable if conventional production

Bernard Hughes

Just as the Last Night of the Proms is an end-of-term party with a concert tacked on, The Grange Festival (like other similar venues) offers a massive picnic interspersed with some opera.

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theartsdesk in Paris - following in the footsteps of Gounod

alexandra Coghlan

It’s a truism that history is written by the victors, but nowhere in classical music is the argument made more persuasively than in the legacy and reputation of Charles Gounod.

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The Path to Heaven, RNCM, Manchester review - tragedy, truth, passion

Robert Beale

Adam Gorb’s The Path to Heaven, with libretto by Ben Kaye, is his longest work to date (almost two hours’ running time without interval) and on a story that could hardly be more tragic – the Holocaust.

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Kiss Me, Kate, Opera North, London Coliseum review - Cole Porter delivered in true company style

David Nice

First palpable hit of the evening: a full orchestra in the pit under hyper-alert Opera North stalwart James Holmes, saxophones deliciously rampant. Second hit: they've got the miking of the voices right (very rare in West End shows). Third: the first ensemble number, "Another opening, another show", sends spirits soaring.

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Falstaff, Garsington Opera review - Sir John under pressure

Sebastian Scotney

All those pranks, set-ups, fake letters and disguises, they just keep coming thick and fast in Verdi’s Falstaff. The score has irresistible energy and momentum.

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Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, Opera North, City Varieties Music Hall review - life as a cabaret

graham Rickson

Peer at the small print and it’s clear that Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill is actually a spruced-up repackaging of a show originally devised by Gene Lerner and arranger Newton Wayland, about whom Opera North’s programme tells us nothing.

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Mamzer Bastard, Royal Opera, Hackney Empire review - inert Hasidic music-drama

David Nice

Striking it lucky with a successful new opera is a rare occurrence, though every company has a duty to keep on trying.

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