fri 22/11/2019

Royal Opera

Don Pasquale, Royal Opera review - fun and frolics in stylish new production

Venetian director Damiano Michieletto’s new Royal Opera production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale is a clever and entertaining mix of old and new. The curtain rises to reveal a skeleton of a 1960s style house - there are doors, but no walls, revealing...

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The Intelligence Park, Linbury Theatre review - baroque to the point of obscurity

Could Gerald Barry's first opera really be as enervating in the Royal Opera House's Linbury Theatre as it seemed nearly 30 years ago at its Almeida Music Festival premiere? Since then we've become accustomed to wonder at, even love, the Barry style...

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Agrippina, Royal Opera review - carry on up the Campidoglio

It was said of the Venetian audiences randy for the satirical antique of Handel's first great operatic cornucopia in 1709 that "a stranger who should have seen the manner in which they were affected, would have imagined they were all distracted"....

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Werther, Royal Opera review - shadows and sunsets from an unreconstructed romantic

Goethe’s Die Leiden des junges Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther) was a vital spark in the ignition of the German romantic movement. The story of a young man driven to kill himself for love of a woman, Charlotte, who loves him but marries...

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Don Giovanni, Royal Opera review - laid-back Lothario

Kasper Holten left a mixed bag of productions behind at Royal Opera when he left in 2017, but the best of them - though not all my colleagues on The Arts Desk have agreed - is this Don Giovanni, now back for its latest revival.Visually, the...

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La Fille du Régiment, Royal Opera review - enjoyable but questionable revival

On paper, this might seem like a revival too far, a production clearly intended as a vehicle for world-class singers being tacked on the end of the Covent Garden season, and without any big names in sight. But it turns out that Laurent Pelly’s...

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Boris Godunov, Royal Opera review - cool and surgical, with periodic chills

Suppose you're seeing Musorgsky's selective historical opera for the first time in Richard Jones's production, without any prior knowledge of the action. That child's spinning-top on the dropcloth: why? Then the curtain rises and we see Bryn Terfel'...

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The Diary of One who Disappeared, ROH review – song cycle-as-opera is a mish-mash

Singer Ian Bostridge once described The Diary of One who Disappeared as “a song cycle gone wrong”. But this reimagining of it as an opera, by the Belgian director Ivo van Hove at the Royal Opera’s Linbury Theatre, also goes wrong, throwing in...

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Phaedra, Linbury Theatre review - from confusing passion to blazing afterlife

Leaving a revival performance of Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur, a friend asked Hans Werner Henze, also in the audience, that dreaded question: "what did you think?" "Very competent and extremely well performed," came the answer. What snap...

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Billy Budd, Royal Opera review - Britten's drama of good and evil too much at sea

On one level, it's about Biblically informed good and evil at sea, in both the literal and the metaphorical sense. On another, the love that dared not speak its name when Britten and E M Forster adapted Hermann Melville's novella is either repressed...

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SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill, Isango Ensemble, Linbury Theatre - evocative and essential lyric theatre

While Bach's and Handel's Passions have been driving thousands to contemplate suffering, mortality and grace, this elegy for black lives lost over a century ago also chimes movingly with pre-Easter offerings. First seen in Southampton last year as a...

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Faust, Royal Opera review - fusty Gounod still dances

Goethe's cosmic Faust becomes Gounod's operatic fust in what, somewhat surprisingly, remains a repertoire staple. You go for the tunes, hoping for the world-class voices to do them justice and prepared for a pallid quarter-of-an-hour or two. David...

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