tue 24/04/2018

Royal Opera

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Royal Opera review - bleak rigour and black comedy still cast a spell

Anyone who's seen Richard Jones's rigorous production before will remember the makeover – Katerina Izmailova, bored and brutalised housewife released by sex and murder from her shackles, having her drab bedroom expanded and redecorated in deliberate...

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Coraline, Royal Opera, Barbican review - spooky story, underwhelming score

With the eyes of musical fashion turned relentlessly on the calculating stage works of chilly alchemist George Benjamin, hopes ran high for a brighter spark in a new opera by his contemporary Mark-Anthony Turnage. Would Coraline, a music-drama for...

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From the House of the Dead, Royal Opera review - Janáček's prison oddity prompts hot tears

A political prisoner is brutally initiated into the life of a state penitentiary, and leaves it little over 90 minutes later. Four inmates reveal their brutal past histories with elliptical strangeness - each would need an episode of something like...

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Carmen, Royal Opera review - clever concept, patchy singing, sexy dancing

Roll up, dépêchez-vous, for Carmen the - what? Circus? Vaudeville/music-hall/cabaret? Opéra-ballet, post-Rameau? Not, certainly, a show subject to the kind of updated realism which has been applied by just about every production other than the...

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The Return of Ulysses, Royal Opera, Roundhouse review - musical drama trumps dodgy stagecraft

The power of music solves every problem, at least when as bewitchingly performed as it was here. With the great mezzo Christine Rice voiceless for at least a night, and rising star Caitlin Hulcup singing for her from the midst of the instruments in...

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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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Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Royal Opera review - one tenor, two samey brutes

Are "Cav and Pag" inseparable? Clearly not, to judge from Opera North's "Little Greats" and elsewhere, but it's still the pairing of choice. Tricky, because as music-theatre, Leoncavallo's drama of rough life entwined with rough art stands high...

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Semiramide, Royal Opera review - Rossini's Queen is back

It has long been a mystery why no new production of Semiramide should have been staged at Covent Garden since 1887: un offesa terribile considering that this splendid melodramma tragico should have been the inaugural production of the Royal Italian...

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Lucia di Lammermoor, Royal Opera review - creepy, violent and intense

Katie Mitchell’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor opened at Covent Garden in 2016 and now returns for a first revival. Royal Opera were clearly expecting great things, even from the start, and this is the third cast to have presented the show,...

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Jonas Kaufmann: Tenor for the Ages, BBC Four review - a musical megastar with sword and shortbread

Now we know who sent Jonas Kaufmann the Union Jack boxer shorts for the Last Night of the Proms. Whether the sender’s identity is the bigger surprise, or the hint of ambiguity over whether the "Greatest Tenor in the World" had previously heard of...

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La Bohème, Royal Opera review - spectacle and sentiment not yet in focus

“I’m not in the mood” – “non sono in vena” – sings aspiring poet Rodolfo as he settles down to write a lead article. Was it me, or had the mood not settled by the premiere of the Royal Opera’s first new production of Puccini's structurally perfect...

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Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance, Royal Opera review - vocal promise, poor stagecraft

They get to work with the best music and language coaches in the business. They make their mark in small parts throughout the Royal Opera season and showcase their art more prominently at the end of it, proving to the world that there are major...

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