thu 14/11/2019

Glyndebourne

Prom 51: Die Zauberflöte, Glyndebourne review - smooth classic without depth

Can we go back to an older Glyndebourne-at-the-Proms vintage, where the chosen production was merely sketched out with variations suited to the venue, and performed in whatever evening dress might be appropriate? Certainly one wishes that director-...

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Rinaldo, Glyndebourne Festival review - teenage dreams

If you’d started senior school when this production premiered, you’d be finished by now and out in the world of work or at university, your first year days a distant memory. A lot’s changed since the curtain first came up on this version in 2011,...

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Die Zauberflöte, Glyndebourne Festival review – high jinks in the Grand Mozart Hotel

Die Zauberflöte rarely attracts the plain cooks of the operatic world. Mozart’s farewell opera chucks so many highly-spiced ingredients into its outlandish pot – pantomime and parable, burlesque and ritual – that many productions opt for one show-...

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Rusalka, Glyndebourne Festival review - away with the distressed fairies

When you think of the extravagant, violent, super grown-up subject-matter that stalked the operatic stage round about 1900 - the Toscas and the Salomes, the Cavs, the Pags and the rest of the verismo pack - you might find it strange to contemplate...

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Cendrillon, Glyndebourne Festival review - busy but engaging

Cendrillon is Jules Massenet’s operatic version of Cinderella, based on the Charles Perrault story of 1698. It is a fairly faithful to the story we know, although it includes a dark third act, the scene after the ball, where Cendrillon attempts...

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La Damnation de Faust, Glyndebourne review – bleak and compelling makeover

Mid-career, moving ever further away from composing for concert platform and church towards the stage, Berlioz found himself unsure where his take on Faust belonged. In the end he hedged his bets and titled it a "dramatic legend". Staging it as an...

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Cendrillon, Glyndebourne Tour review - too many ingredients in the magic soup

Supernatural wonders, consciously avoided in Rossini's enlightened tale of goodness rewarded La Cenerentola and unrealised by second-rank composer Isouard in his 1810 Cendrillon, recently uneathed by Bampton Classical Opera, flood Massenet's gem-...

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Sir Peter Hall: a day of thanksgiving and celebration for a colossus of culture

Sir Peter Hall had no ordinary life, as might be expected from the director who more than any other defined the British theatre of the last half of the 20th century. The same can be said of the unforgettable two-part send-off he received exactly a...

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Vanessa, Glyndebourne review - blowsy histrionics and a great finale

"Sounds like an opera by Handel," said a friend when I told him that I was going to see Vanessa at Glyndebourne. Possible – the name first appeared in print as "invented" by Jonathan Swift in 1723 – had Handel not stuck to mythological and Biblical...

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Saul, Glyndebourne review - from extravaganza to phantasmagoria

It's swings and roundabouts for Glyndebourne this season. After the worst of one director currently in fashion, Stefan Herheim, in the unhappy mésalliance of the house's Pelléas et Mélisande, only musically gripping, comes the already-known best of...

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Prom 5, Pelléas et Mélisande, Glyndebourne review - for the ears, not the eyes

What a fabulous score Pelléas et Mélisande is, and what a joy to be able to hear it in a concert performance without the distraction of some over-sophisticated director’s self-communings. Well, if only. What last night’s Prom in fact served up was a...

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Pelléas et Mélisande, Glyndebourne review - frigid metatheatre

Pierre Boulez simply crystallised the obvious when he described Debussy's unique masterpiece as "theatre of cruelty," despite its enigmatic beginnings. Richard Jones, when I asked him to talk about its plot, declared "it's about two men who love the...

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