fri 22/03/2019

Royal Opera

Così fan tutte, Royal Opera review - fine singing and elegant deceits

Give hope to all, says Despina: play-act. Così fan tutte has always been a piece about four young and silly people being appalling to one another without much need for encouragement from a cynical old manipulator and a confused maid who, in the main...

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Rachvelishvili, ROH Orchestra, Pappano, Royal Opera House review - perfect night and day

There's now something of a gala atmosphere when the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House takes to the Covent Garden stage with its music director Antonio Pappano. Admittedly some of the players are not the same as when he took up his tenure, but the...

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Katya Kabanova, Royal Opera review - inner torment incarnate

Backstories, we're told, are a crucial part of stage visionary Richard Jones's rehearsal process. Janáček, or rather Russian playwright Ostrovsky on whose The Storm the composer based Katya Kabanova, gives several of his hemmed-in characters...

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The Queen of Spades, Royal Opera review - uneven cast prey to overthought concept

Prince Yeletsky, one of the shortest roles for a principal baritone in opera but with the loveliest of arias, looms large in Stefan Herheim's concept of The Queen of Spades. Not so much as a name in Pushkin's perfect short story of 1834, a mere...

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Best of 2018: Opera

Outnumbered by four to one: out of the classical/opera team, Alexandra Coghlan, Jessica Duchen, David Benedict and Boyd Tonkin all chose English National Opera's production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess as their best of the operatic year, while I...

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Hänsel und Gretel, Royal Opera review - not quite hungry enough

Once upon a time there was the terrible mouth of Richard Jones's Welsh National Opera/Met Hänsel und Gretel, finding an idiosyncratic equivalent to the original Engelbert Humperdinck's dark Wagnerian heart. Then came something very nasty in the...

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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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