Opera

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…

Best left in ear and imagination: Wexford Festival Opera’s Herculanem reviewed

5 November 2016 9:00 am

Wexford is to opera-goers what casinos are to gamblers. The uncertainty, the hope, the exhilaration — they’re all a crucial…

Nose job: Shostakovich’s ‘The Nose’ at the Royal Opera House

A terrifically good nose job: Royal Opera's The Nose reviewed

29 October 2016 9:00 am

The Royal Opera’s latest production is Shostakovich’s The Nose and to paraphrase Mark Steyn, whatever else can be said about…

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…

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 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…