tue 26/10/2021

Bizet

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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Yende, Vaughan, Cadogan Hall

Lovely singer, consummate pianist, shame about the programme. “Art song” is a rather prissy term, but we could have done with a few to ballast a diet of old pop – French chansons, Italian canzonettas, Spanish canciones, Victor Herbert tralala. Even...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Nicole Cabell

Last year a DVD appeared featuring the 15 winning performances from the start of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition up to 2011. I watched them all, skimming if any seemed a notch below par but staying with most. You could see the star...

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Le docteur Miracle, Pop-up Opera, The Running Horse

An orchestral musician recently told me that only one per cent of graduates from UK music colleges go on to take up a post in an established opera company or orchestra. You’d think, given such an alarming statistic, that there would be a lot of very...

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theartsdesk in Brussels: Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth at 75

There was deliberate symbolism in the way Maria João Pires chose to make her first entrance onto the stage at the birthday gala of the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Brussels earlier this week. The concert was a grand occasion. A well-heeled,...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bizet, Eisler, Academy of Ancient Music

Bizet: Symphony in C, Jeux d’enfants, Variations chromatiques San Francisco Ballet Orchestra/Martin West (Reference Recordings)Bizet’s only symphony was composed in 1855 as a school exercise. The 17-year-old composer promptly forgot about the piece...

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Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Opera Holland Park

Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles is an unfashionably generous indulgence of a score tethered to an unfashionable and unredeemable plot. There’s not a contemporary director alive who can make the wretched thing work, so perhaps it would be better if we...

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