wed 21/11/2018

Royal Opera

Simon Boccanegra, Royal Opera review - a timely revival of Verdi's political music-drama

Political machinations and backroom power-brokering, leadership battles and unscrupulous rivals – if ever there was an opera for this week it’s Simon Boccanegra. Premiered in 1857 but only coming into its own after substantial revisions in 1881,...

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Verdi's Requiem, Royal Opera, Pappano review - all that heaven allows

Here it comes - get a grip. The tears have started flowing in the trio "Quid sum miser" and 12 minutes later, as the tenor embarks on his "Ingemisco" solo, you have to stop the shakes turning into noisy sobbing. The composer then lets you off the...

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Solomon, Royal Opera review - an awkward compromise of a performance

There was no synopsis in the programme for the Royal Opera’s concert performance of Handel’s Solomon. Maybe that was an oversight, but perhaps it’s simply because there really is no plot to summarise. Handel’s oratorio, set to an anonymous...

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Götterdämmerung, Royal Opera review - a fiery finale to this ambiguous cycle

And so it ends. Flames give way to water, and as the Rhinemaidens resume their naked dance we come full circle – quite literally in Keith Warner’s Wagner Ring – back where we began, on the banks of the Rhine. Once again we find ourselves on the...

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Siegfried, Royal Opera review - a truly fearless hero

Siegfried is usually the problem with Siegfried. Even Stuart Skelton, top Tristan and currently singing an acclaimed Siegmund in this last revival of Keith Warner's rattlebag Ring, won't touch the longest, toughest heroic-tenor role in Wagner, the...

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Die Walküre, Royal Opera review – putting family before sex

Perched alone and fearful in her hut as the curtain rises on Die Walküre, Sieglinde clutches and then throws aside a grimy teddy-bear. Story time is over. The nymphs and gold and bickering gods all belong in the past, to the ‘preliminary evening’ of...

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Das Rheingold, Royal Opera review - high drama and dark comedy

Keith Warner’s production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen was first seen at Covent Garden between 2004 and 2006, and is now back for a third and final series of full runs, chiefly to catch the Brünnhilde of Nina Stemme in three of the operas,...

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L'Ange de Nisida / JPYAP Summer Programme, Royal Opera - buoyant touch in Donizetti bagatelle

Two rules should help the non-Donizettian: avoid all stagings of the prolific Bergamasco's nearly 70 operas other than the comedies; and seek the guarantee of top bel canto stylists. Conductor Mark Elder and soprano Joyce El-Khoury certainly fit...

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Mamzer Bastard, Royal Opera, Hackney Empire review - inert Hasidic music-drama

Striking it lucky with a successful new opera is a rare occurrence, though every company has a duty to keep on trying. The Royal Opera hit the jackpot with 4.48 Psychosis, a highly original approach to Sarah Kane's profound and authentic play by...

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Lohengrin, Royal Opera review - swan mystery musically illuminated

It's awfully long for a fairytale in which a mystery prince helps a damsel in distress, and she asks him the question she shouldn't. Myth tends to go deeper, as Wagner did in The Ring of the Nibelung after Lohengrin. Here he captures the magic of...

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Lessons in Love and Violence, Royal Opera review - savage elegance never quite glows red-hot

A rope is mercy; a razor-blade to the throat, a kiss; a red-hot poker… But, of course, we never get anything so literal as the poker in George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s elegant, insinuating retelling of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II. The title...

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4.48 Psychosis, Royal Opera, Lyric Hammersmith review - despairing truth in song and speech

Depression, with or without psychotic episodes, is a rare subject for drama or music theatre - and with good reason: the sheer unrelenting monotony of anguish and self-absorption is hard to reproduce within a concentrated time-span. So we still...

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