mon 27/05/2019

opera directors

Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), Brighton Festival 2019 review - a feverishly foul-mouthed musical comedy

Five years ago this Kneehigh Theatre production caused a stir with its vibrant modern retelling of John Gay’s 18th century satirical classic, The Beggar’s Opera. It’s currently on tour again and it’s easy to see why a revival was greenlit. It’s a...

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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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L'heure espagnole, Mid Wales Opera review - Ravel goes like clockwork

Mid Wales Opera makes small-scale touring look fun – even when you suspect that, behind the scenes, it really isn’t. Barely 24 hours before this performance of their current production of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole, and 11 dates into their current 16...

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Porgy and Bess, English National Opera review - strength in depth on Catfish Row

After exhausting years of financial and artistic crisis-management at the Coliseum, English National Opera urgently needed an ironclad, feelgood success. This season’s opener, a somewhat idiosyncratic take on Strauss’s Salome, was unlikely to fit...

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Ariadne auf Naxos, Opera Holland Park - stylish staging, world-class singing

"When the new god approaches, we surrender, struck dumb". Especially if, for the singer of those words, popular entertainer Zerbinetta, the “new god” takes the shape of same-sex love. Director and designer Antony McDonald locates the real “mystery...

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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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Ariadne auf Naxos, Longborough Festival review - appetising energy and wit

Much as I love Strauss’s Ariadne in its final form, I have a sneaking nostalgia for the original version (attached to Hofmannsthal’s adaptation of Molière’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme), which had Zerbinetta and her companions popping up after the...

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theartsdesk in Paris - following in the footsteps of Gounod

It’s a truism that history is written by the victors, but nowhere in classical music is the argument made more persuasively than in the legacy and reputation of Charles Gounod. In a year in which you can hardly move for Bernstein and Debussy-related...

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La finta semplice, Classical Opera, QEH review - consummate musicianship stokes early Mozart

You can always be sure of impeccable casting and spirited playing as Ian Page takes his Classical Opera through Mozart year by year. Just don't expect more than the glimmer of genius to come in 1768, though. It doesn't matter in those admirable...

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Der fliegende Holländer, Longborough Festival review - stand and deliver on an empty stage

Brilliant and innovative though it is in many respects, The Flying Dutchman is by no means a straightforward piece to stage. It’s an odd, sometimes uncomfortable mixture of the genre and the epic. At Sadler’s Wells in the sixties they had a little...

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Michael Chance on continuing opera in Hampshire: 'good people like to work with good people'

Out of the blue comes a phone call. A freelance career is based on those to a certain extent. Certainly mine has been. But this one was a bit different. “Would you come and talk to us about the way forward?”. I soon learnt that what this actually...

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Così fan tutte, Opera Holland Park review - the pain behind the prettiness

A proper production of Così fan tutte should make you feel as if the script for a barrel-scraping Carry On film has been hi-jacked by Shakespeare and Chekhov – working as a team. The story is so silly (even nasty), the music so sublime. When, in...

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