Reviews

A magestic Walküre as up close and personal as it could possibly get

16th July 2024

Wagner at Longborough really needs to be experienced as it is almost impossible to describe. But I will try. It crossed my mind, sitting so close to the singers and orchestra in the small space with a correspondingly small stage, it felt a little like being in a village hall, not even as big as […]

Read More

Fun and frivolity at Garsington Opera for Verdi’s Giorno di Regno

15th July 2024

**** Well, I never. A staging of a comedic opera that is actually funny. Purists may argue Verdi’s Un Giorno di Regno, owes more to Donizetti or Rossini but who cares? In this delightful new staging by Christopher Alden for Garsington Opera we are given a contemporary arms dealer’s office Kelbar Defence Ltd. rather than […]

Read More

Not much magic on this Island Of Dreams, Grange Park Opera

15th July 2024

** Anthony Bolton quite rightly beamed with pride as he was generously received at his curtain call as composer of this new work receiving its premier (and one of two performances) at Grange Park Opera. The response for the production team including director David Pountney was rather more muted. The singers and Gascoigne Orchestra conductor […]

Read More

MidSummer Night’s Dream psychobabble at Garsington Opera

15th July 2024

*** Psychobabble rather than magic takes over in Netia Jones’s new staging of the ever-popular Britten and Pears’s version of the Shakespeare play, and the result is a missed opportunity. Why so? Because the work is being staged at the fabulous Garsington Opera pavilion which is all glass and other directors have made great use […]

Read More

Terfel triumphs, of course, in Grange Park Opera double bill

29th June 2024

Aleko / Gianni Schicchi Grange Park Opera ***** Just when you think you have seen all there can be from Bryn Terfel along comes a new performance (or in this case two) that reminds just why the North Walian really deserves his star status. As if to showcase his abilities we have him cast in […]

Read More

Kátya Kabanová, Janácek: a soprano of exceptional ability

29th June 2024

***** Grange Park Opera From the powerhouse of a season, it would again seem Grange Park Opera is the place to hear our very finest British singers, and Swansea-born Natalya Romaniw as Kátya Kabanová is the perfect example. Add to that Sir Bryn Terfel in the double bill of Aleko and Gianni Schicchi and it […]

Read More

Il trittico, reflections on the human condition, Welsh National Opera

19th June 2024

**** Whether it was the arrival of Taylor Swift in town, or finally the advent of weather that felt like summer, the Wales Millennium Centre was at less than full capacity for the WNO’s performance of Puccini’s Il trittico (1918). Perhaps it was the less than inspiring poster for the production, or maybe a lack […]

Read More

A Tosca that captures the opera’s thuggish violence, Grange Festival

18th June 2024

**** Tosca has always been a dark story of violence and cruelty, that crushes love and hope. The famous ending, here with the jealous singer falling backwards from the battlements of Castel Sant’Angelo with her chilling final words, is one of vengeance and hate not of love.  That love has been ripped out of her […]

Read More

An inventive new L’Incoronazione di Poppea

15th June 2024

**** Grange Festival, Hampshire It would seem the contemporary version of achieving the feeling of absolute authority, power over everyone including sexual favours, and endless confidence, is an endless supply of cocaine. For director Walter Sutcliffe, there doesn’t seem to be a version for women – they still seem to need to achieve their status […]

Read More

A fun-filled Daughter of the Regiment, Donizetti

15th June 2024

Grange Park Opera. **** The Daughter of the Regiment is an operatic vehicle for some fine singing and musicianship, and fun. Anything that tries to do any more with it are just missing the point. Fortunately, John Doyle and Nikki Woollaston, co-directors of Grange Park Opera’s staging of Donizetti’s 1840 piece of fun and frolics […]

Read More