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…

Goose of Cairo soloists (Photo: Jenny Brady)

A Handel opera that isn't by Handel, and a Mozart opera composed in 1990, reviewed

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Disguises and mistaken identities are a staple of opera, but usually as part of the onstage, not the offstage, action.…

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,…

The Importance of Being Earnest (Photo: ROH/Stephen Cummiskey)

Is there a funnier opera than Gerald Barry’s Importance of Being Earnest?

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Comic opera is no laughing matter. Seriously, when was the last time you laughed out loud in the opera house?…

May Night at the Royal Academy of Music (Photo: Robert Workman)

The greatest British opera after Dido and Grimes? Vaughan Williams’s Riders to the Sea

2 April 2016 9:00 am

In a remote fishing village a lone figure confronts an unexplained death, standing tormented but unbroken against fate, the community…

Pepper Commetti as the goddess Diana in ETO's Iphigenie en Tauride. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

The singing made me seasick: ETO’s Don Giovanni reviewed

26 March 2016 9:00 am

One of these days I will probably see a production of Don Giovanni set in a research station in the…

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…

Naked ambition: Anthony Roth Costanzo in Philip Glass’s ‘Akhnaten’

In a world full of zombie new operas, thank god for Philip Glass’s Akhnaten

12 March 2016 9:00 am

A mixed year so far for new opera. A few really dismal things have appeared from people who should know…

The Marriage of Figaro (Photo: Richard Hubert Smith)

WNO reminds us Figaro's a comedy – which is no bad thing

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Near the end of Elena Langer’s new opera Figaro Gets a Divorce, as the Almaviva household — now emigrés in…

Choristers from the English National Opera (Photo: Getty)

ENO must go

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Last week Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, revealed that opera receives just under a fifth of the…

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 —…

Nicholas Lester as Figaro and Nico Darmanin as Count Almaviva

Cruel and absurd: WNO’s Barber of Seville reviewed

20 February 2016 9:00 am

‘Forget Downton Abbey!’ exhorts David Pountney in the programme for Figaro Forever, Welsh National Opera’s season of Beaumarchais operas, The…

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,…