Carry on camping: English Touring Opera’s ‘La Calisto’

Three ways not to do tragicomedy: English Touring Opera reviewed

22 October 2016 9:00 am

‘Besides feeble writing, there is a mixture of tragic-comedy and buffoonery in it, which Apostolo Zeno and Metastasio had banished…

Sweet and sour: Ylva Kihlberg as the Marschallin and Helen Sherman as Octavian in Opera North’s ‘Rosenkavalier’

Is Opera North’s Rosenkavalier’s worth seeing? Certainly. Worth hearing? That’s trickier

15 October 2016 9:00 am

Shiny swags of gold cloth hang in front of the curtain before David McVicar’s production of Der Rosenkavalier, and that’s…

All blacks: Christopher Purves and Caitlin Lynch in Richard Jones’s ‘Don Giovanni’ at ENO

Bears only a passing resemblance to Mozart's opera: ENO's Don Giovanni reviewed

8 October 2016 9:00 am

Richard Jones’s new production of Don Giovanni at ENO bears some passing resemblances to the opera as envisaged by its…

Ben Baur’s stylish designs for ‘Così fan tutte’ at the Royal Opera House

Stylish designs undermined by elderly tempi: Royal Opera’s Così fan tutte reviewed

1 October 2016 9:00 am

The subtitle for Mozart’s Così fan tutte may be ‘The School For Lovers’, but it’s as a school for directors…

Not so Super Mario: Vito Priante as Figaro in ‘Il barbiere di Siviglia’ at the Royal Opera House

Near-ideal première from our boldest opera company: WNO’s Merchant of Venice reviewed

24 September 2016 9:00 am

Alas, poor André Tchaikowsky. A survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, with an assumed name that probably did his musical career…

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…

Vocal authority: Mandla Mndebele as Mandela and Siphamandla Yakupa as Winnie in ‘Mandela Trilogy’

For a good man, Nelson Mandela has inspired a lot of really bad art – here’s some more

10 September 2016 9:00 am

They say that the devil gets all the best tunes, and on the basis of this week’s opera-going it would…

Opera della Luna at Wilton's Music Hall

Why Offenbach really was the 'Mozart of the Champs-Élysées'

3 September 2016 9:00 am

We don’t really do operetta in Britain these days — and at this stage in the game, I don’t really…

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…

Salzburg Festival's production of The Exterminating Angel, a new opera by Thomas Adès

Thomas Adès bottles it in his new opera: The Exterminating Angel reviewed

6 August 2016 9:00 am

In Luis Buñuel’s 1962 film, the ‘exterminating angel’ of the title is a mystery illness. A debilitating virus — much…

Thinking inside the box: Stéphanie d’Oustrac (Béatrice) and the chorus in ‘Béatrice et Bénédict’ at Glyndebourne

Are Glyndebourne taking le piss? Béatrice et Bénédict reviewed

30 July 2016 9:00 am

It takes a particularly wilful wit to alight on Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict as the perfect operatic nod to a…

Jenufa (Photo: Matthew Williams Ellis)

The opera for opera sceptics: Jenufa at Longborough reviewed

23 July 2016 9:00 am

What’s the best first opera for a sceptical adult first timer? It’s a favourite topic among opera buffs, and once…

Beethoven's Leonore (Photo: Robert Workman)

Memo to directors: it’s not all about you: Beethoven’s Leonore reviewed

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Leonore is the first version of Beethoven’s Fidelio, and Stephen Medcalf thinks it’s better. ‘What Leonore gives us is more…

Brutality, brutalism and barbed wire: Maurizio Muraro as Ferrando in David Bösch’s ‘Il trovatore’

Placido Domingo was on vintage form in Royal Opera’s Nabucco

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Grey men in grey overcoats walking through grey architecture. If you had to pick an image to reflect the current…

Grant Doyle as Figaro, Beate Mordal as Susanna (Photo: Matthew Williams-Ellis)

A beautiful meditation on the Shakespearean-rich Idomeneo at Garsington Opera

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Comedy and tragedy sit close beside one another in Mozart’s operas. Whether it’s the grinning horror of the Così finale…

Fantastic Ms Fox: Elena Tsallagova as Vixen Sharp-Ears in ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’

Garsington Opera understands Eugene Onegin better than Tchaikovsky did

25 June 2016 9:00 am

Tchaikovsky knew what he thought of the title character of his Eugene Onegin. ‘I loved Tatyana, and was furiously indignant…

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…

Visual whipped cream and cheoreographic sprinkles at Garsington fail to disguise the festering horror underneath Rossini’s ‘L’italiana in Algeri’

Why are Rossini’s comedies so hard to pull off?

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Rossini is the meat-and-two-inappropriately-shaped-veg of summer opera; he’s the wag in the novelty bow tie, the two satyrs shagging enthusiastically…

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…

Pleasure, Opera North

This new opera had the audience in tears

21 May 2016 9:00 am

‘So you’re going to see the gay sex opera?’ exclaimed my friend, open-mouthed. People certainly seem to have had some…

Richard Suart as Ko-Ko and Stephen Richardson as The Mikado (Photo:  James Glossop)

Scottish Opera could have a hit on its hands with this new Mikado

14 May 2016 9:00 am

You have to be quite silly to take Gilbert and Sullivan seriously. But even sillier not to. G&S is still…

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…