Opera

World-weary rather than carefree: Peter Coleman-Wright as Papageno

Life-enhancing achievement: ENO's Magic Flute reviewed

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Centre stage, there’s an industrial-looking black platform, secured by cables. The Three Ladies snap the unconscious Tamino on a mobile…

(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…

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…

Eugene Onegin, Royal Opera House

Conductor and orchestra played as if in love: Royal Opera’s Eugene Onegin reviewed

9 January 2016 9:00 am

It’s scene five of Kasper Holten’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Michael Fabiano’s Lensky is alone with a snow-covered…

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…

Jenufa (Photo: Richard H Smith)

A devastating Jenufa - if you could hear it

5 December 2015 9:00 am

About 15 minutes into act one of Jenufa, the student in the next seat leaned over to her companions and…

Anna Devin as Alcina and Nick Pritchard as Ruggiero in ‘La Liberazione di Ruggiero’ at Brighton Early Music Festival

Has there ever been a better time to be a lover of Baroque opera?

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Time was when early music was a 6 p.m. concert, Baroque began with Bach and ended with Corelli’s Christmas Concerto,…

Morgen und Abend (Photo: Clive Barda)

Morgen und Abend: the kind of opera that gives opera a bad name

21 November 2015 9:00 am

The Royal Opera House seemed nervous about Georg Friedrich Haas’s world première Morgen und Abend. They sent out a pdf…

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,…

Le nozze di Figaro (Photo: Robert Workman)

Northern Ireland Opera’s Turandot will fill you with awe and revulsion

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Chords as bright and sweet as pomegranate seeds burst and spill in Turandot, a splinter of bitterness at their centre.…

Wild-eyed mezzo Annunziata Vestri as mad Margherita in ‘Guglielmo Ratcliff’

Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff deserves to become a classic

29 October 2015 9:00 am

It’s Halloween, and right on lightning-flash cue enters an operatic ghost story exhumed from the grave of long-since-buried works. You…

The Tales of Hoffman (Photo: Richard Hubert Smith)

I doubt Goethe intended Werther's sorrows to be as unremitting as this

24 October 2015 9:00 am

There are some things the French do better than everyone else. Cheese, military defeats and extra-marital affairs are a given,…

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…

'A glittering concentrate of fury in her dark eyes': Patricia Racette as Katerina Ismailova in 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk'

Thank god for bored wives: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the ENO reviewed

3 October 2015 9:00 am

‘Kiss me, Sergei! Kiss me hard! Kiss me until the icons fall and split!’ sings Katerina Ismailova, adulterous antiheroine of…

Erwin Schrott as Figaro and Anita Hartig as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro

McVicar’s Figaro looks increasingly fossilised. Time for the Royal Opera to ditch it

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Is there a more extraordinary, more heart-stilling moment in all opera than the finale of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro?…

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…

Water torture: Aida on Sydney Harbour

Get me to an opera house: Aida On Sydney Harbour reviewed

12 September 2015 9:00 am

In anyone’s hands, Verdi’s Aida is not the easiest opera to raise up to greatness on the stage. How does…

Magic in the air: Berlin Comic Opera’s exuberant ‘Magic Flute’ at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre

The Magic Flute has never made more cartoonish sense - an Edinburgh Festival roundup

5 September 2015 9:00 am

London may cry foul over Hamlet’s misplaced to-be-ing and not-to-be-ing but Edinburgh is in raptures over a Magic Flute which…

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,…

Miah Persson in Le Nozze di Figaro (Photo: gordoneszter)

Opera in Edinburgh: even the best Stravinsky can’t beat mediocre Mozart

22 August 2015 9:00 am

Is Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress anything more than an exercise in style? ‘I will lace each aria into a tight…

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…

An abundance of spectacle: Iestyn Davies as David, with Sophie Bevan as Michal

Startling and sublime - even the candles got a round of applause: Glyndebourne’s Saul reviewed

1 August 2015 9:00 am

Caius Gabriel Cibber’s statues of ‘Melancholy’ and ‘Raving Madness’, their eyes staring blindly into the void, petrified in torment, once…

Christopher Turner as Artemidoro, the romantic lead transformed into a raving hippy in Trofonio’s ‘cave’

Don’t listen to Amadeus - this Salieri opera is better than Mozart

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Magical transformations are a commonplace of opera. We see our heroes turned into animals, trees, statues; witness wild beasts turned…