tue 15/10/2019

Verdi

Rigoletto, Welsh National Opera review - same old update, fine performance

Considering the doubtfulness of its underlying idea, James Macdonald’s production of Rigoletto has shown remarkable staying power since its Cardiff début 17 years ago. It’s true that this particular opera - which, unlike one or two others of Verdi’s...

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Last Night of the Proms, Barton, BBCSO, Oramo review – woke not broke

The BBC put social and ethnic diversity at the heart of this Last Night programme. The concert opened with a new work, by Daniel Kidane, called Woke, and the first half was dominated by the music of black and female composers. In the second half,...

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Un ballo in maschera, Opera Holland Park review - evocative and sensationally sung

A masked ball is a time of play and role-play, celebrating the duality, the conflicting selves within us all, allowing us to set aside our everyday public mask put on an alter ego for the evening. It seems appropriate then that Verdi’s Un ballo in...

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Falstaff, The Grange Festival review - belly laughs and bags of fun

What is the perfect country house opera? A Midsummer Night’s Dream? L’elisir? Cenerentola? Figaro? All are strong contenders, but in the absence of anyone brave enough to stage Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest the winner – surely –...

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Aida, Opera North review - militarism soundly subverted

Opera North created something approaching a new art form when they performed Wagner’s Ring in "concert stagings", putting their large orchestra in full view, with singers symbolically dressed and given limited front-of-stage space, and a continuous...

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'The orchestra becomes the landscape': Annabel Arden on Opera North's concert staging of Aida

This will be the latest in Opera North’s acclaimed concert stagings of large-scale works, which have previously included Wagner’s Ring cycle, Puccini’s Turandot and Strauss’s Salome. For Verdi’s Egyptian epic, we’ve recreated the team which brought...

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Elizabeth I/Macbeth, English Touring Opera review - elegance and eeriness

A crash, a scurry, a long, lilting serenade – the overture to Rossini’s Elizabeth I sounds oddly familiar. Not to worry. English Touring Opera has anticipated our confusion. “You may recognise this overture” flash the surtitles, to a ripple of...

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La forza del destino, Royal Opera review - generous voices, dramatic voids

When "Maestro" Riccardo Muti left the Royal Opera's previous production of Verdi's fate-laden epic, disgusted by minor changes to fit the scenery on the Covent Garden stage, no-one was sorry when Antonio Pappano, the true master of the house then...

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Bernheim, Finley, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - top Italians in second gear

Would Verdi and Puccini have composed more non-operatic music, had they thrived in a musical culture different to Italy's? Hard to say. What we do know is that they both became absolute masters of orchestration – Puccini rather quicker than Verdi,...

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Un ballo in maschera, Welsh National Opera review - opera as brilliant self-parody

Why is Un Ballo in maschera not as popular as the trio of Verdi masterpieces – Rigoletto, Traviata, Trovatore – that, with a couple of digressions, preceded it in the early 1850s? Its music is scarcely less brilliant than theirs, and if its plot is...

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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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Car, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Tognetti, Milton Court review - a rattlebag of happy collaborations

Presenting the last Mozart symphonies as a three-act opera for orchestra, as Richard Tognetti and his febrile fellow Australians did on Monday, was always going to be a supreme challenge. It worked, as Boyd Tonkin reported here. Since then, the...

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