Opera

Insufferable rubbish: Glyndebourne’s Hipermestra reviewed

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Anyone who thinks they have experienced absolute boredom, or even doubts that such a state can exist, should go to…

Much of Scottish Opera’s Bohème is spot-on – but it begins with an act of petty vandalism

20 May 2017 9:00 am

When a composer begins an opera, they create a world. You don’t need a full-scale overture: the tear-stained violins that…

Gilbert & Sullivan’s characters never exist below the waist: ETO’s Patience reviewed

13 May 2017 9:00 am

English Touring Opera is playing safe this spring, with Tosca and Patience, and was rewarded, in Cambridge at least, with…

Sunyoung Seo as Liù, Alastair Miles as Timur and Rafael Rojas as Calaf in Opera North’s production of Turandot

Puccini at his most enjoyably reprehensible: Opera North’s Turandot reviewed

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Some opera-lovers prefer concert performances to full stagings. I don’t. It’s that whole Gesamtkunstwerk thing: opera needs to be seen…

The cast’s talents are not put to good use: Thomas Adès’s Exterminating Angel reviewed

29 April 2017 9:00 am

The Adèsives were out in force at Covent Garden last Monday for the UK première of their hero’s third opera,…

A marvellous occasion – but could it not have been pruned? Il ritorno d’Ulisse reviewed

22 April 2017 9:00 am

Monteverdi 450 — the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists’ tour of his three operas to 33 cities across two…

A ravishing Rameau premiere – pity the choreography was pure Bez

15 April 2017 9:00 am

The English weren’t the first cowpat composers. Jean-Philippe Rameau raised the art of frolicking in the fields to such heights…

Gresa Pallaska and Robert Jack in ‘The 8th Door’

Sung with such eloquence it makes you wish we heard more operas in Hungarian

8 April 2017 9:00 am

As we waited for curtain-up on Scottish Opera’s new production of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle a member of staff walked out…

Unbearable (in a good way): Opera Holland Park's La voix humaine reviewed

1 April 2017 9:00 am

Opera is littered with the bodies of abandoned women. Step over Dido and Gilda, and you’ll still stumble into Donna…

Slyly surreal: Christopher Alden’s Partenope at ENO

Denial has rarely looked so good: ENO’s Partenope reviewed

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Ceci n’est pas une Partenope. Forget the warring classical kingdoms of Naples and Cumae: this is surrealist Paris in the…

Nothing could prepare me for so deep an abyss of idiocy: Royal Opera’s Die Meistersinger reviewed

18 March 2017 9:00 am

I don’t think that I have left a theatre many times feeling as depressed and irritated as after the Royal…

Quietly devastating: Scottish Opera’s Pelléas and Mélisande reviewed

11 March 2017 9:00 am

‘Perhaps in this world nothing ever happens without purpose,’ sings old, blind King Arkel in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and…

Cold comfort: Zach Roberts in Rory Kinnear’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ at ENO

Only Mozart could have done this play justice: The Winter’s Tale at the ENO reviewed

4 March 2017 9:00 am

Why set a supremely great play to music? The Winter’s Tale, the play of Shakespeare’s that I love most, has…

Frank Martin was mad to write an opera based on Tristan – but the results are worthwhile

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Frank Martin is one of those composers whose work seems to survive only by virtue of constantly renewed neglect. His…

Doing a disservice to a lovely opera: Angela Gheorghiu as Adriana Lecouvreur

Meet the opera conductor who’s marginally less popular than Donald Trump

18 February 2017 9:00 am

The story so far: in 1986 English National Opera hired Jonathan Miller to direct Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. The…

Ravishing music, but read the plot first: Opera North’s Hansel and Gretel reviewed

11 February 2017 9:00 am

Fully to enjoy Opera North’s new production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel you need to take a trinocular perspective on…

The thrills are in the visuals: Philip Glass’s Les Enfants Terribles reviewed

4 February 2017 9:00 am

Kids: who’d have them? Certainly no one who has ever been to the opera. If they’re not murdering you, they’re…

Why do we neglect this masterpiece? Opera North’s The Snow Maiden reviewed

28 January 2017 9:00 am

Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden has not received a professional staging in the UK for 60 years. Think about that for…

A memorable evening, though not one I’d want to repeat: Le grand macabre reviewed

21 January 2017 9:00 am

The Barbican website warns us that Ligeti’s opera Le grand macabre ‘contains very strong language and adult themes’. The strong…

Has the subtlety of a howitzer: Royal Opera’s Der Rosenkavalier reviewed

7 January 2017 9:00 am

In Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March, the ageing Emperor Franz Joseph regrets the drab field-grey that has replaced his army’s…

I am pleased to have seen La finta giardiniera, and even happier that I shall never see it again

10 December 2016 9:00 am

For the past few weeks I have been working my way through Decca’s gigantic set of every note Mozart wrote…

A noble flop: Royal Opera's Les Contes d'Hoffmann reviewed

3 December 2016 9:00 am

As the dreaded season of goodwill approaches, the Royal Opera has mounted two revivals of pieces that are interestingly contrasted:…

All at sea: Rachel Kelly as Donna Elvira and Henk Neven as Don Giovanni in Northern Ireland Opera’s ‘Don Giovanni’

Oliver Mears’s limp Don Giovanni doesn’t bode well for the Royal Opera

26 November 2016 9:00 am

The last ten minutes of any Don Giovanni tell you more about a director than the previous two hours. Mozart’s…

Intimations of perplexity: Joanna Dudley in ‘Lulu’ at ENO

A work of enormous allure – and repulsiveness: ENO's Lulu reviewed

19 November 2016 9:00 am

I wonder why ENO has invested in a new production of Berg’s Lulu, when the previous one, which we first…

Two terrific new operas – without an afterlife

12 November 2016 9:00 am

When Mozart was commissioned to write an opera for the coronation of Emperor Leopold II, he produced La clemenza di…