Michael Tanner

(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…

Rachel Nicholls and Peter Wedd in Tristan und Isolde

The finest Tristan since Siegfried Jerusalem

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Which of Wagner’s mature dramas is the most challenging, for performers and spectators? The one you’re seeing at the moment,…

heckler

The Heckler: my decades-long campaign against Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

13 June 2015 9:00 am

For anyone who has been interested in classical vocal music since the middle of the last century, whether choral, operatic…

Stéphanie d’Oustrac (Carmen) and Pavel Cernoch (Don José) in ‘Carmen’ at Glyndebourne

Was Glyndebourne right to revive Donizetti's Poliuto? No, says Michael Tanner

30 May 2015 9:00 am

It’s been a busy operatic week, with a nearly great concert performance of Parsifal in Birmingham on Sunday (reviewed by…

Prudence Sanders (Adina) & Caroline Kennedy (Gianetta) in OperaUpClose's production of Donizetti's The Elixir of Love. Photo: Christopher Tribble

OperaUpClose’s production of Elixir of Love is by far the best update of an opera Michael Tanner has ever seen

2 May 2015 9:00 am

Three staples of the Italian repertoire, performed and seen in very different circumstances, have confirmed my view that they deserve…

Graham Vick's production of Tippett's The Ice Break

Tippett’s triumphant failure: Birmingham Opera Company’s The Ice Break reviewed

11 April 2015 9:00 am

The Ice Break is Michael Tippett’s fourth opera, first produced at Covent Garden in 1977 and rarely produced anywhere since,…

Left to right: Peter Hoare (Fatty), Anne Sofie von Otter (Leocadia Begbick), Willard White (Trinity Moses)

Royal Opera's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny review: far too well behaved

21 March 2015 9:00 am

Brecht/Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny was premièred in 1930, Auden/Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in 1951. Twenty-one…

Starry night: Iain Patterson as Sachs and Andrew Shore as Beckmesser in a triumphant ‘Mastersingers of Nuremberg’

Mastersingers of Nuremberg, ENO, review: ‘a triumph’

14 February 2015 9:00 am

ENO’s new production of Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg is a triumph about which only the most niggling of reservations…

The Marriage of Figaro Photo: Clive Barda

An artistic crime is committed at the Royal Festival Hall

31 January 2015 9:00 am

In one of the more peculiar concerts that I have been to at the Royal Festival Hall, Vladimir Jurowski conducted…

Magnificent: Nina Stemme as Isolde and Stephen Gould as Tristan

Royal Opera’s Tristan und Isolde: an absurd production - but still a magnificent night

3 January 2015 9:00 am

Any adequate performance of Tristan und Isolde, and the first night of the Royal Opera’s production was at least that,…

Gianni Schicchi Photo: Hana Zushi-Rhodes, Royal Academy of Music

Agents will be queuing up to sign this 26-year-old baritone from Sichuan

13 December 2014 9:00 am

The Royal Academy of Music’s end-of-term opera can always be looked forward to because it never disappoints: the repertoire is…

Franco Fagioli: a controversial Idamante in ‘Idomeneo’ at the Royal Opera House

Royal Opera’s Idomeneo: get seats but make sure they’re facing away from the stage

15 November 2014 9:00 am

Mozart’s first great opera, Idomeneo, is not often performed, and perhaps it’s better that way. It should be seen as…

Anna Netrebko as Lady in Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’, Metropolitan Opera

Met Opera Live's Macbeth: Netrebko's singing stirred almost as much as her décolletage

1 November 2014 9:00 am

This season of live Met relays got off to a most impressive start, with an electrifying account of Verdi’s tenth…

Alice Coote and Sarah Tynan in ‘Xerxes’ at ENO

Royal Opera's Rigoletto: your disbelief may wobble but your excitement won't

4 October 2014 9:00 am

One of the greatest tests of how an opera house is functioning is the quality of its revivals. Both the…