thu 19/05/2022

English Touring Opera

St John Passion, English Touring Opera, Lichfield Cathedral review - free-range Bach doesn't quite add up

JS Bach’s Passions as music theatre? Well, why not? Whatever the aura of untouchability around these works, they were always conceived as part of a bigger picture: a communal sacred ritual in which the divide between performer and audience wasn’t so...

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The Golden Cockerel, English Touring Opera review - no crowing over this henhouse

A plea to anyone who was seeing Rimsky-Korsakov’s last opera for the first time at the Hackney Empire: please don’t give up on ever seeing or listening to it again, as some I spoke to afterwards said they just had. I promise you, the fault lies in...

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Romances on British Poetry / The Poet's Echo, English Touring Opera online review - Britten and Shostakovich in a double mirror

A darkened stage; a pool of light; a solitary figure. And then, flooding the whole thing with meaning, music – even it’s just a soft chord on a piano. It’s no secret to any opera goer that even the barest outlines of a staging can magnify the...

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The Silver Lake, English Touring Opera review - shadows of the Weimar twilight

Almost exactly a century after the Weimar Republic’s constitution took effect, English Touring Opera presents a show whose birth coincided with the Republic's untimely death. His third collaboration with the prolific, maverick playwright Georg...

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The Seraglio, English Touring Opera review – focused and light

No great innovations in this Seraglio – as ETO are styling Mozart’s early Singspiel (its full title in translation is The Abduction from the Seraglio – but a traditional staging that makes the most of all the work’s characters and quirks. Mozart’s...

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Elizabeth I/Macbeth, English Touring Opera review - elegance and eeriness

A crash, a scurry, a long, lilting serenade – the overture to Rossini’s Elizabeth I sounds oddly familiar. Not to worry. English Touring Opera has anticipated our confusion. “You may recognise this overture” flash the surtitles, to a ripple of...

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Idomeneo, English Touring Opera review – honest excellence

Selfish, cunning, cynical, the older generation has screwed up the world with aggression abroad and dishonesty at home. Can their children make it good again? This family drama of transgression and reparation threads through Idomeneo, the opera that...

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The Marriage of Figaro, English Touring Opera review - vanilla Mozart still tastes sweet

The Fates did not want theartsdesk to review English Touring Opera’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro. The Beast from the East intervened to prevent a colleague from covering it at the Hackney Empire at the start of its tour in February: now...

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Dardanus, English Touring Opera review - mixed fortunes for warzone updating

Baroque opera is always a challenge to stage, and Rameau’s Dardanus is no exception. In its original form, the story, of love in times of war, was infused with allegorical characters and mythological scenes. It flopped, and so Rameau and a new...

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Patience/Tosca, English Touring Opera

How well do you know your bad Victorian poetry? “When through the purple corridors the screaming scarlet Ibis flew/In terror, and a horrid dew dripped from the moaning Mandragores.” Go on, guess the author. Or how about this? “What time the poet...

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Don Giovanni / Pia de' Tolomei, English Touring Opera

The curtain is up for the overture to English Touring Opera’s new production of Don Giovanni, but no-one is on stage. Instead, we gaze at Anna Fleischle’s set: a creation in two layers. On the top, elegant Klimt panels glint with gold. Below, and...

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Iphigénie en Tauride, English Touring Opera

Gluck's two operas about the daughter of Agamemnon saved from sacrifice only to serve as priestess-butcher herself have found their level on the contemporary operatic stage. Not that the handful of UK productions or their casts in recent years have...

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