Michael Tanner

Sonya Yoncheva as Norma. Photo: ROH/Bill Cooper

Sonya Yoncheva is sensational in Royal Opera’s triumphant new Norma

17 September 2016 9:00 am

The Royal Opera has opened the season with a triumph, and in one of the most difficult of operas, Bellini’s…

Malcolm Williamson, former Master of the Queen's Music,  rehearsing his young cast for the children's opera 'Knights of Shining Virtue' (Getty Images)

The day I tried to rescue the alcoholic former Master of the Queen’s Music

10 September 2016 9:00 am

I was looking forward to going to Malcolm Williamson’s opera English Eccentrics set to a text by Edith Sitwell at…

The Queen of Spades

A thrilling production: Opera Holland Park’s Queen of Spades reviewed

20 August 2016 9:00 am

Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades is probably his greatest opera, certainly the one in which his characteristic strengths are on…

Macbeth at the Dorest Opera Festival (Photo: Fritz Curzon)

Michael Tanner won't forget Dorset Opera's thrilling Macbeth

13 August 2016 9:00 am

Dorset Opera seems to receive far less coverage than the rest of the country-house summer shows, although it is in…

Stuart Skelton (Tristan) and Heidi Melton (Isolde) in Anish Kapoor’s volcano

A lethally perverse production: ENO's Tristan and Isolde reviewed

18 June 2016 9:00 am

It is at the Coliseum that I have seen the most wonderful Tristan and Isoldes of my life, both of…

Das Rheingold (Photo: Clive Barda)

The conducting is as potent as Furtwängler’s: Opera North’s Ring reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

When I interviewed Richard Farnes in Leeds six years ago about Opera North’s project of performing the complete Ring, he…

OEDIPE, Royal Opera House (Photo: Clive Barda)

Not a repertory piece but in its dignity it earns respect: Royal Opera’s Oedipe reviewed

28 May 2016 9:00 am

For years I have been telling people that they should listen to, in the absence of staged performances, Enescu’s opera…

‘His operas offer a straightforward experience’

Verdi’s works are more entertainment than art

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Verdi has a peculiar if not unique place in the pantheon of great composers. If you love classical music at…

Tannhauser, Royal Opera House (Photo: Clive Barda)

Royal Opera’s Tannhäuser is one of the ugliest stagings I have set eyes on

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Cursed, or perhaps blessed, with almost no visual memory at all, I had almost completely forgotten what the Royal Opera’s…

Adriana Kohutkova & Karita Mattila, Jenufa (Photo: Petr Kadlec)

Shattering - despite the lack of staging: Czech Phil’s Jenufa reviewed

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Janacek’s Jenufa, his first great opera, had a one-night stand at the Royal Festival Hall last Monday, courtesy of the…

Drowning in detail: Vicki Mortimer’s sets for Royal Opera’s production of ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’

Tame and drowning in detail: Royal Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor reviewed

16 April 2016 9:00 am

Lucia di Lammermoor is one of the two or three Donizetti operas that have never fallen out of the repertoire,…

Boris Godunov (Photo: Catherine Ashmore)

An unqualified triumph: Boris Godunov at the Royal Opera reviewed

19 March 2016 9:00 am

The Royal Opera has bitten the bullet so far as Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov goes, and opted to stage the original…

Norma at the ENO (Photo: Alastair Muir)

Long live ENO!

27 February 2016 9:00 am

The three most moving, transporting death scenes in 19th-century opera all involve the respective heroines mounting a funeral pyre —…

(Photo: Bill Cooper)

Unlikely to win converts: Royal Opera's L'Étoile reviewed

6 February 2016 9:00 am

It’s widely agreed that the most difficult form of opera to bring off is operetta, whether of the Austro-German or…

Annemarie Kremer as Maddelena. Photo Credit: Robert Workman

Miserable libretto, music to match: Andrea Chénier reviewed

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Opera North continues to be the most reliable, inspiring, resourceful and enterprising opera company in the United Kingdom, and all…

Boulez in 1964. Photo: Erich Auerbach/Getty Images

Spare us this unanimous chorus of praise for Pierre Boulez

16 January 2016 9:00 am

Pierre Boulez, who died last week at the age of 90, would have been the last person, one hopes, to…

Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande

Powerful and upsetting: Pelléas et Mélisande at the Barbican reviewed

16 January 2016 9:00 am

There are some operas, as there are some people, that it is impossible to establish a settled relationship with, and…

Cavalleria rusticana (Photo: Catherine Ashmore)

Royal Opera’s Cavalleria rusticana isn’t nearly vulgar enough

12 December 2015 9:00 am

How often do you get a chance to see two operas by Leoncavallo in the same city in the same…

ENO’s production of ‘The Force of Destiny’ has a large, fidgety set and a projection of a vast horse’s head

That Force of Destiny isn’t a great evening is the fault of Verdi not ENO

14 November 2015 9:00 am

The Force of Destiny, ENO’s latest offering to its ‘stakeholders’, as its audiences are now called thanks to Cressida Pollock,…

Ariadne auf Naxos (Photo: Ashmore)

Ariadne shows the operetta composer Richard Strauss could have been

17 October 2015 8:00 am

‘Oh, those Greeks! They knew how to live. What is required for that is to stop courageously at the surface,…

Kiss Me Kate

Please let's have more musicals like this Kiss Me, Kate at Opera North

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Opera North’s new production of Cole Porter’s masterwork Kiss Me, Kate has been so widely and justly praised that I…

Margit Carstensen as Petra, downing gin and grovelling on her deep-pile carpet, in ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s films verge on the incomprehensible — but that doesn’t stop him being a genius

3 October 2015 8:00 am

London’s Goethe-Institut has a two-month season of films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder (whose 70th anniversary it’s celebrating), but only five…

Orphee et Eurydice_ Stage Rehearsal_ROH;Director; John Fulljames,Choreography; Hofesh Shechter,Performers,Conductor; John Eliot Gardiner,Orphee; Juan Diego Florez,Eurydice; Lucy Crowe,Amour; Amanda Forsythe,Dancers; Hofesh Shechter Company, Chor

As good a treatment of a Bellini opera as we are likely to see: WNO's I puritani reviewed

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Bellini belongs to that category of not-quite-great operatic composers whose works are also very difficult to perform adequately, and don’t…

Daphne at Grimeborn

As with so many Strauss operas, Daphne's one redeeming feature is its end

29 August 2015 9:00 am

Richard Strauss’s Daphne is one of the operas he wrote during the excruciatingly long Indian summer of his composing life,…

Animal magic: François Piolino as the Frog in ‘L’enfant et les sortilèges’

Glyndebourne’s Ravel double bill comes close to perfection

15 August 2015 9:00 am

When I saw the first performance of this production of Ravel’s two operas at Glyndebourne three years ago, I thought…