wed 06/07/2022

ROH

Mavra/Pierrot Lunaire, Linbury Theatre review - operatic madness tempered with plenty of method

A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it domestic farce and a fever-dream fantasy of a song-cycle: Stravinsky’s Mavra (1922) and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (1912) make for an unexpected double-bill. But, if the two stand slightly awkwardly next to one another,...

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Swan Lake, Royal Ballet review - a magnificent revival

In a week that saw the Royal Opera House lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag and its orchestra playing the Ukrainian national anthem, many theatres and concert halls found ways to express their sympathy for that country’s desperate plight....

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Ariodante, Royal Opera online review – stylish, but confined

“After black and gloomy night, the sun shines all the brighter,” sings hero Ariodante after a life-threatening bout of jealousy nearly scuppers a royal wedding. There’s a snag in Handel’s dramaturgy: all that sunshine in preparation for the nuptials...

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The Bright Stream, Bolshoi Ballet review - a gem of a comedy

Why is Alexei Ratmansky one of the greatest living choreographers of classical ballet? Well partly because, as last night's performance of The Bright Stream by the Bolshoi at the Royal Opera House proved, he can do comedy. To adapt the famous...

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War and Peace, Welsh National Opera, Royal Opera House - bold epic weakened by loosely-directed characterisations

On the UK's biggest day of shame, it was some relief to tap in to the fury of the Russian people at a much greater national degradation (Napoleon's invasion in 1812, Hitler's in 1941). Though it works even better at the end of the first, "Natasha...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Pet Shop Boys - Inner Sanctum

Pet Shop Boys are never shy of producing stylishly conceived fan mementos. Coming not long after Faber & Faber’s hardback collection of Neil Tennant’s lyrics, this four-disc set is just such a slice of lovingly rendered memorabilia. After well...

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Salome, Royal Opera review – lurid staging still packs a punch

David McVicar may seem too gentle a soul for the lurid drama of Strauss's Salome, but his production, here returning to Covent Garden for a third revival, packs a punch. He gives us plenty of sex and violence – or at least nudity and blood – but...

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Best of 2017: Opera

It may not have been the best year for eye-popping productions; even visionary director Richard Jones fell a bit short with a tame-ish Royal Opera Bohème, though his non-operatic The Twilight Zone is something else. Instead there's been time to...

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Kenneth MacMillan: A National Celebration, Programmes 2 & 3, Royal Opera House review - abhorrent to sublime

The choreographer Kenneth MacMillan was a man of many modes and moods, and it’s tempting to wonder how many more he might have revealed had he not been felled by a heart attack at the age of 62. Two retrospective programmes staged this week –...

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Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera review – enjoyable revival of much loved production

This is the sixth revival of David McVicar’s production of Die Zauberflöte at Covent Garden since its debut in 2003. It was heard most recently in 2015, and is modestly described in the Royal Opera’s own publicity as a “classic”. Having not seen it...

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The Exterminating Angel, Royal Opera

"But is any of this normal?," asks poor Beatriz at the end of Act One. Of course not. She and 14 other grand creatures are crossing the space of an aristocratic drawing-room from which, they are coming to realise, there is no escape. At the same...

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Balanchine's Jewels, Royal Ballet

Balanchine's Jewels is catnip to dedicated ballet lovers. A homage, faithful and brilliant as only a master could make, to three different styles of choreography and three different national sensibilities, it's as dense, expertly carved and...

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