Macbeth, Mid Wales Opera

16th March 2024

**** It would be wrong to make what may be the last review of a full-scale work by Mid Wales Opera about the preposterous axing of the company’s funding by the increasingly out of touch Arts Council of Wales. However, the energy on the stage seemed as marked outside of the auditorium at the Riverfront, […]

Read More

Death in Venice, Britten, Welsh National Opera at Wales Millennium Centre

8th March 2024

**** The first instalment in this year’s WNO Spring season was a revisitation of a classic, and so it feels very balanced that we are now invited to explore the dark (and, in places, insalubrious) world of a more esoteric work, one that was produced well after the heyday of classical opera and that is […]

Read More

Opera Favourites, Welsh National Opera

6th March 2024

** While Welsh National Opera’s spring concert imaginatively called Opera Favourites did what it said on the tin, it was also partly a musical preview of some scheduled shows. There was, for example, a fair chunk of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, February 2025, and a rousing chorus and orchestral section from Britten’s Peter Grimes, […]

Read More

Così Fan Tutte, Welsh National Opera

25th February 2024

Wales Millennium Centre *** There are some works which are harder to look at under a modern lens than others, and Così Fan Tutte is certainly one of that number. To bring to a stage, in 2024, a work that is literally titled ‘they’re all the same’ is inevitably to contend with its glaring sexism, […]

Read More

Longborough Festival Opera: the first 30 years

12th January 2024

This generously illustrated book will appeal to those who have followed Martin and Lizzie Graham’s obsessive dream turned into reality in creating an opera house in the Cotswolds. But it will also appeal to anyone who enjoys a tale of dogged perseverance in the face of what at times seems the chains of bureaucracy and […]

Read More

A conservative and beautiful La Traviata, Welsh National Opera, Wales Millennium Centre

22nd September 2023

What else can be done with La Traviata that has not been done already? Giuseppe Verdi’s most famous work, the one many regard as the quintessential opera, has been through such a huge number of incarnations, revisitations and reimaginings – some more fortunate than others – that one would be truly hard pressed to think […]

Read More

Sublime theatre and music, Ainadamar, WNO, WMC

10th September 2023

***** At the end of the performance of Osvaldo Golijov’s opera Ainadamar (Fountain of Tears) I felt surprisingly moved by this new work from the Argentinian composer that focusses on the murder of the poet Lorca during the Spanish Civil War. I am still not sure whether it was the music and singing or the […]

Read More

Not just any old port in the storm, Les Troyens at the Proms, Albert Hall

5th September 2023

**** It should be of no concern to this review why the conductor and the singer performing Narbal were not who was originally scheduled to perform. There is plenty reportage of this elsewhere. Anyone interested will know, and I was more concerned with the annoying distractions of the audience (some unavoidable with some of the […]

Read More

The Mikado fun but without much bite, If Opera

1st September 2023

This evening entertainment at If Opera’s summer festival, an offering of this Charles Court Opera version of The Mikado, was well-received by the audience. Judging by judicious eavesdropping, the audience members particularly enjoyed the humour and did not seem phased by the transposition of the Gilbert and Sullivan story to an all-British group of colonial […]

Read More

Luscious and powerful Fedora at If Opera

1st September 2023

***** Again, If Opera punches above its weight with this luscious and powerfully sung Fedora, an oddly underperformed opera by Umberto Giordano that on the evidence of this outing deserves to be taken on by other opera companies. Charne Rochford Yes, it has the usual operatic excesses of verismo opera, and Act One in particular, […]

Read More