thu 13/12/2018

Bizet

L'heure espagnole, Mid Wales Opera review - Ravel goes like clockwork

Mid Wales Opera makes small-scale touring look fun – even when you suspect that, behind the scenes, it really isn’t. Barely 24 hours before this performance of their current production of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole, and 11 dates into their current 16...

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The Unknown Soldier, Infra, Symphony in C, Royal Ballet, review - WWI ballet honours obscure tragedy

Pity fatigue is a risk for any artwork marking the anniversary of the 1918 Armistice. There can’t have been a man or woman in the Royal Opera House on Tuesday night who hadn’t already read, watched, or otherwise had their fill of the horrors of the...

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CBSO, Leleux, Birmingham Town Hall review - oboe extraordinaire

There’s always a special atmosphere when the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra returns to Birmingham Town Hall, and it’s not just because of the building’s Greek Revival beauty: the gilded sunburst on the ceiling, or the towering, intricately...

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Carmen, Royal Opera review - clever concept, patchy singing, sexy dancing

Roll up, dépêchez-vous, for Carmen the - what? Circus? Vaudeville/music-hall/cabaret? Opéra-ballet, post-Rameau? Not, certainly, a show subject to the kind of updated realism which has been applied by just about every production other than the...

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Strictly goes to the Proms

The glitterball has landed. After loaning out Proms queen Katie Derham to Strictly Come Dancing last series, where she hauled comedy pro Anton Du Beke all the way to the final, the Beeb’s Saturday-night juggernaut returned the favour by...

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10 Questions for Choreographer Matthew Bourne

Choreographers are not generally household names, but Matthew Bourne must come close. Not only does his company tour frequently and widely, with a Christmas run at Sadler’s Wells that many families regard as an essential fixture of their seasonal...

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Matthew Bourne's The Car Man, Sadler's Wells

The original idea for the subtitle of this show, first made in 2000 and last seen at Sadler's Wells in 2007, was apparently "An Auto-Erotic Thriller". Yes, groan. But "erotic thriller" is a much straighter description of The Car Man than its actual...

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Carmen, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

After Calixto Bieito’s radical reimaging of Carmen, which opened at English National Opera this week, David McVicar’s version at Glyndebourne was bound to seem conservative. But it turned out to be a comparison of apples and Seville oranges: Bieito...

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Carmen, English National Opera

Crotch-grabbing, suggestions of oral and anal sex, stylized punching and kicking and other casual violence offer diminishing returns in your standard Calixto Bieito production. Sometimes a scene or two flashes focused brilliance, which only makes...

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Carmen, Mid Wales Opera

It’s only a few days since I was remarking, à propos the WNO revival, that Carmen usually survives its interpreters. Now WNO’s humble neighbour, Mid Wales Opera, are proving the same point, but in a more positive spirit, by touring a new production...

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Carmen, Welsh National Opera

Popularity is all very well, but it can be a poisoned chalice. Braving the umpteenth revival of Carmen at WNO (original directors Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser, revival director Caroline Chaney), I began to experience that sense of weariness that...

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The Pearl Fishers, English National Opera

Before curtain-up on the opening night of this revival of Penny Woolcock’s production of The Pearl Fishers, ENO's head of casting arrived on stage with a microphone. No doubt delightful company in person, he was an unwelcome sight here. Sophie Bevan...

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