wed 01/02/2023

London Coliseum

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, Coliseum review - the story of a deluded prince

So there’s this prince, see, and he’s not at all happy. For a start, he never got over losing a parent when he was a child. He’s at odds with the world, sick to death with royal protocol and convinced that no one understands him. Worse, having too...

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An open letter from Dame Sarah Connolly and colleagues to Arts Council England

The decision of Arts Council England to withdraw funding from the English National Opera and force it to move out of London is not only another hammer blow to the opera industry but it has huge ramifications for the extensive number of British...

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It’s a Wonderful Life, English National Opera review - Capra’s sharp-edged sentiment smothered in endless schmaltz

Looking for a sparkly operatic musical, well sung and played, slick and saturated in a range of mainstream styles that stop short in the year the movie masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life was released, 1946? Then Jake Heggie’s 2016 confection may be...

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First Person: conductor Leo Hussain on why we still need English National Opera in London

I still remember vividly my first encounter with ENO. I was taken, as a nine-year-old boy, on a school trip to see a performance of Peter Grimes. And I was hooked. I pestered my parents to take me back several times to that same production. I can...

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The Yeomen of the Guard, English National Opera review - half-good shot at an unusual G&S misalliance

Sullivan’s Overture to The Yeomen of the Guard isn’t quite the equal of Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger – what is? – but its brass-rich brilliance and wholesome ceremonials wouldn’t have been possible without that great example. Cue...

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Tosca, English National Opera review - a tale of two eras

Rome, 14/15 June 1800: the specifics of the original Sardou melodrama are preserved in Puccini’s thriller mixing love, lust, religion and tyranny. Many productions move forward in time, and sometimes change the place, with ease: after all, feudalist...

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My Fair Lady, London Coliseum review - tasteful revival powered by stirring performances

First staged in 2018, Bartlett Sher’s Lincoln Center Theater production of My Fair Lady is London’s latest import from Broadway, coming here hot on the heels of Oklahoma!. In returning to the city where its story is set, Lerner and...

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Dance for Ukraine, London Coliseum, online review - a gala to remember

What do top ballet dancers keep permanently in their back pocket? Answer: a fully rehearsed, ready-to-go gala item, to judge by a one-off fundraising  event mounted in double-quick time at the Coliseum last month and now available to stream,...

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The Handmaid's Tale, English National Opera review - a red-hot classic for our times

However familiar you are with The Handmaid’s Tale in Margaret Atwood’s novel or its TV adaptation, you might still be knocked sideways by the impact it makes as an opera. Poul Ruders’s music plunges us viscerally into its emotional world,...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, English National Opera review - half-realised men and beasts

Nature in the form of Storm Eunice stopped this Cunning Little Vixen in her tracks on Friday evening. ENO shrugged off the cancellation and rescheduled for Sunday afternoon. And here we were, getting the essential message that humans must reach an...

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Raymonda, English National Ballet, Coliseum review - a creaky old standard, lavishly restored to health

Neglected classics, whether books, plays or ballets, are usually neglected for a reason, and so it is with the three-act ballet Raymonda. A hit in 1898 for the Imperial ballet in St Petersburg but unperformed in this country since the 1960s, its...

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HMS Pinafore, English National Opera review - shipshape classic comedy craft

Yes, it was bound to be HMS Laugh-a-minute, given Cal “One Man, Two Guvnors” McCrystal’s ENO comedy riffs on an already funny early G&S classic, but what does this tight little craft have to say to Little England today?That a British sailor’s “...

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