tue 23/04/2019

ROH

Swan Lake, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House

"If you know anything about dance," I was told last night by an aged balletomane at the Royal Opera House, "you know that Russian ballet companies are the best." If this is true then the Bolshoi Ballet, biggest of the Russian companies, in Swan Lake...

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Pet Shop Boys, Royal Opera House

Anyone remember the Boobahs? They were the less successful cousins of the Teletubbies, from the same production house. They were puffy, fat, primary-coloured humanoids who bounced endlessly around in bizarre choreographed dance routines. They were...

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Il Trovatore, Royal Opera

That often-repeated truism about Verdi's craziest melodrama, that it needs four of the world's greatest voices, makes no mention of acting ability. Given the top-notch international approach to this kind of opera, impressively fielded by what's...

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Werther, Royal Opera

All 23 of Massenet's mature operas boast memorably melodious quarters of an hour and fastidious orchestration, so why Werther’s special status as a repertoire staple? Three or four great arias may have been enough to clinch it. There’s also the fact...

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The South Bank Show: Joyce DiDonato, Sky Arts

Take Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, and add Handel and Mozart and the Frenchman Massenet, and you have the composers whose operas the Kansas-born mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has made her own. She's one of the few who has become a classic opera...

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The Invitation/Obsidian Tear/Within the Golden Hour, Royal Ballet

It shows you just how much Kenneth MacMillan changed ballet in this country that 1960's The Invitation, with its onstage rape, sexual grooming and child abuse, can act as the reassuring classic at the heart of the new Royal Ballet triple bill which...

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Oedipe, Royal Opera

"Unjustly neglected masterpiece" is a cliché of musical criticism, and usually an exaggeration. Romanian master Enescu's vast journey through aspects of the Oedipus myth seemed like an unacknowledged great among 20th century operas through the...

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Frankenstein, Royal Ballet

Another year, another new full-length story ballet from one of the Royal Ballet's in-house choreographers. Time was – a long time, in fact, up to 2011 – when that would have sounded like science fiction, but no longer: Liam Scarlett, whose...

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The Winter's Tale, Royal Ballet

It was twelfth night for Christopher Wheeldon's two-year-old, three-act Shakespearean ballet, and this newcomer had one nervous anticipatory question. The verbal music is gone, only the plot remains, so could A Winter's Tale the play inspire...

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Boris Godunov, Royal Opera

Russian bells and spinning tops dominate Richard Jones's predictably unpredictable take on Musorgsky's saga of a conscience-stricken Tsar. Latter-day purism tends to insist on the composer's seven-scene 1869 original – possibly for economic more...

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Giselle, Royal Ballet

One of the secrets to enjoying life is mastering the creative use of disappointment. Many in the Covent Garden audience last night were no doubt deeply disappointed not to be seeing Natalia Osipova's legendary portrayal of the title role in Giselle...

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Il Trittico, Royal Opera

From working-class hell via convent purgatory to Florentine comic heaven, the riches of Puccini's most comprehensive masterpiece seem inexhaustible. In a production as detailed in its balance between the stylised and the seemingly spontaneous as...

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