Reviews

Singers and orchestra save this show from being a ring of dire

21st November 2021

I sometimes wonder whether Wagner sets some sort of challenge from beyond the grave on the Ring Cycle to test its strength. The challenge being: who can make such a pig’s ear of a production to destroy the magnificence of the music and the impact of the story on audiences. This time it was down […]

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A large tot of happiness from ENO’s Pinafore

21st November 2021

HMS Pinafore at English National Opera is a joyous entertainment that revels in the humour while ensuring the highest standards of musicianship. It is, shock horror, enjoyable. Yet it is a mark of our strange times when performing Gilbert and Sullivan seems quite brave and some companies would fret themselves onto a woke apoplexy performing […]

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Satyagraha, certainly gorgeous but a little of its time

19th October 2021

It may sound like sacrilege to make a negative comment about Philip Glass’ Satyagraha as it has achieved iconic status, but while this remains a glorious piece of music and stunning theatricality in the Phelim McDermott staging, the 40 plus year old opera seems dated. First staged by English National Opera back in 2007, this […]

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No need for laying it on with a trowel with this clean if grubby Il tabarro from Mid Wales Opera

13th October 2021

It is a challenging enterprise to take opera out to smaller venues at the best of times let alone when audiences are still wary in Covid days but it is one that Mid Wales Opera with Richard Studer and Jonathan Lyness at the tiller do with a sure touch and excellent musicianship. The combination of […]

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Rosina takes control – on every level

30th September 2021

The auditorium might have been extremely lightly populated but those who had come along to see the show, masked or unmasked such is the confusing state of affairs in Wales, enjoyed a rare treat – an enjoyable production from Welsh National Opera without any psychobabble or a la mode gobbledegook. It was heartening to hear […]

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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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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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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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L’amico Fritz at Opera Holland Park

1st August 2021

Even an unseasonal massive downpour on to Opera Holland Park’s canopy could not wash away the summer delight of this Mascagni 1891 work. James Clutton, CEO and Director of Opera, joked with the audience about their “winter” season and how they had decided to keep the social distancing between seats the same despite relaxation of […]

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