Author: Mike Smith

An airbrushed show that has Madam Butterfly as a human commodity for whoever has the money to pay

25th September 2021

Welsh National Opera at Wales Millennium Centre It must be deeply annoying for a director when the opera gets in the way of a concept. Drat – the libretto. You can fiddle with settings, play around with costumes, even tweak the translation but there are some things that you cannot escape. Well, you would have […]

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The Academy of Ancient Music wins Gramophone choral award

22nd September 2021

The Choral award is given for AAM’s world premiere recording of Jan Ladislav Dussek’s Messe Solemnelle, which was released in October 2020 to critical acclaim. The recording featured an exceptional cast of soloists alongside the Choir and Orchestra of AAM and Richard Egarr. Gramophone wrote: “Dussek himself could scarcely have hoped for a performance as fine as this one … It’s a fascinating work and an important project, impressively […]

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How should we ensure companies actually perform?

6th September 2021

In 1959 the House of Commons endorsed the principle of public subsidy and the independence of the arts. This largely began state subsidy of the arts. By 1962 the Royal Opera was told its subsidy would be pegged at 87.5 per cent of the previous year’s income. The more shows they put on the more […]

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Jonathan Lyness and Richard Studer on Mid Wales Opera’s Parisian love affair

2nd September 2021

Music Director Jonathan Lyness talks about creating a new score for four instruments to perform Puccini’s Il tabarro, and Artistic Director Richard Studer reflects on the production’s genesis and development during lockdown life, as they bring Mid Wales Opera’s latest tour to audiences. “Puccini seems to have felt a special affinity with Paris, so much […]

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Iford Arts New Generation Artists I Pagliacci

31st August 2021

This Iford Arts New Generation Artists performance of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at Belcombe Court demonstrated there is no shortage of developing talent and the vital role of performance experience. The audience was treated to individual performances that should soon happily grace some of our professional state funded opera companies. Clearly, carefully rehearsed by production director Christopher […]

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mezzoCav and I Pagliacci, Iford Arts

31st August 2021

This delicious performance of the stripped back to its emotional basics I Pagliacci had an increased poignancy, being the last show of Iford Arts short summer festival. The story is of the troupe of travelling players about to make their own performance before packing up and heading back on the road, with all the challenges […]

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Longborough’s Die Walkure available on demand

26th August 2021

Longborough Festival Opera is streaming its 2021 concert performance of Die Walkure. Watch here(Available on demand until Friday 25 February 2022) This concert production of Die Walküre was filmed live at Longborough Festival Opera on 8 June as part of the festival’s new Ring cycle. Wotan is sung by Cardiff singer Paul Carey Jones. The cycle began in June 2019, […]

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Elin Pritchard comes out fighting

25th August 2021

Lockdown was intended to squash the COVID sombrero in early 2020 but it also flattened soprano Elin Pritchard’s rising career. Like many other singers the impact of the pandemic was sudden and dramatic. The North Wales-born, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama graduate was performing as Micaëla in Welsh National Opera’s touring production of […]

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Welsh National Opera finds way through Madam Butterfly minefield

25th August 2021

Welsh National Opera is scheduling a series of events around its performances of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly on the type of subjects that have been used to attack arts organisations under the banner of inclusivity, for their choice of work and for non-race matched casting. A new production has been commissioned. It follows a similar approach […]

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Fun and youthful exuberance in Don Giovanni at Nevill Holt Opera

21st August 2021

The weather does not seem too kind to outdoor operas in August and while we had a cool but lovely evening at the exquisite gardens of Nevill Holt for the first night of their sparky and energetic Don Giovanni black clouds threaten some of the further performances. Obviously this is bad news for those seated […]

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