sun 21/04/2024

Glyndebourne

Best of 2023: Opera

Choosing a limited best seems almost meaningless when even simply the seven operatic experiences I've relished in the run-up to Christmas (nothing seasonal) deserve a place in the sun. But in a year which has seen Arts Council devastation versus...

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Semele, Glyndebourne review - the dark side of desire

It never rains but it pours – and hails, snows or, above all, thunders. The presiding tone of Semele, in Adele Thomas’s new production for Glyndebourne, matches the current English summer with its grey skies, glowering clouds and stormy outbursts....

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Dialogues des Carmélites, Glyndebourne review - faith overwhelmed by horror

Harrowing and holiness alternate in Poulenc’s unique masterpiece, nominally an opera about nuns during the French revolution, at a deeper level a music-drama about the greatest disturbances in the human condition. Glyndebourne’s cast, conductor and...

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Don Giovanni, Glyndebourne review - stunning, exuberant production reveals human nature in all its complexity

Why stage Don Giovanni in a post #MeToo world? That’s the question most frequently being asked about Mariame Clément’s new production for Glyndebourne and on its opening night she delivered a response that was as conceptually subtle as it was...

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First Person: soprano Soraya Mafi on why Glyndebourne's tour cancellation is disastrous

Anyone concerned about making the arts accessible regardless of where they live should be concerned by the recent announcement from Glyndebourne that it’s having to cease touring across England.That painful decision, and Welsh National Opera’s...

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La bohème, Glyndebourne Tour review - Death and the Parisienne doing the rounds

The sopranos are Ethiopian-Italian and Hispanic-American, the tenor Uzbek, the baritones South African (no EU principals, but it seems you can't have everything). This is opera at its best: the cream of international singers coming together to make...

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First Persons: Glyndebourne's sustainability advisers Sara and Jeremy Eppel on creating eco-friendly opera

Like the beacons saving ships from the Cornish rocks in Ethel Smyth’s opera, The Wreckers, which opened this year’s Glyndebourne Festival, the Sussex opera house has itself become a beacon of more environmentally sustainable opera. In 2021, with the...

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La Voix humaine/Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Glyndebourne review - phantasmagorical wonders

“Variety is the spice of life! Vive la difference!,” chirrups the ensemble at the end of this giddying double bill. And there could hardly be more singular variety acts than a potential suicide at the end of a phone line, a woman who lets her...

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Alcina, Glyndebourne review - Handel on the strand

Reviewing the Grange Festival production of Tamerlano the other day, I noted the difficulty Handel poses the modern director with his byzantine plots and often ludicrous love tangles, expressed through music of surpassing brilliance but mostly...

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La bohème, Glyndebourne review - a masterpiece in monochrome

According to the programme, La bohème is (probably) the most performed opera, by the most performed operatic composer. Ever. So, what is it about this piece that continues to enthral, inspire and intrigue artists and audiences alike?Perhaps it’s...

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Le nozze di Figaro, Glyndebourne review - fabulous singing and a classy production

After two years of Covid-affected performances – even though there was a full season last year – Glyndebourne's annual festival is finally back in full glory. Following the big blaze of Saturday's The Wreckers, Sunday welcomed back Michael Grandage'...

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The Wreckers, Glyndebourne review - no masterpiece, but vividly sung and played

Interesting for the history of music, but not for music? Passing acquaintance with Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers, a grand opera by a woman at a time (the early 1900s) when circumstances made such a thing near-impossible, had suggested so. Then along...

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