Homework, not theatre: WNO’s Cosi fan tutte reviewed

Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte hasn’t always been taken seriously. In fact for much of the 19th century it wasn’t even reckoned to be very good (Donald Tovey described its characters as ‘humanly speaking, rubbish’). For the modern director, there are several potential approaches. One – the hardest – is to try and evoke in the

Gleefully silly: Scottish Opera’s Marx in London! reviewed

A bloke was working the queue outside the Theatre Royal, selling a newspaper called the Communist. ‘Marxist ideas, alive today!’ he shouted into the Glasgow drizzle. Was he part of the show; a Graham Vick-style touch of Total Theatre? In any case, he didn’t seem to be shifting many units. He might have been even

Fresh as an April shower: Opera North’s Albert Herring reviewed

Opera North has launched its spring season with Giles Havergal’s 2013 production of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, performed (as conceived) in the Howard Assembly Room – the company’s studio space next door to the Grand Theatre. The economics of opera are a dark and dismal science, but one of the few constants is that ticket

Everything hits the spot: Royal Opera’s Elektra reviewed

Aristotle wrote that classical tragedy should evoke pity and awe. With Richard Strauss’s Elektra, the awe can be taken as read: a certain irreducible level of epicness is written into the score, even if – like Sir Antonio Pappano on the first night of this new production at the Royal Opera – a conductor takes

Irresistible: Hansel and Gretel, at the Royal Opera House, reviewed

Fun fact: Engelbert Humperdinck composed part of Wagner’s Parsifal. Shortly before the première, it was discovered that Wagner’s score didn’t allow time for a crucial scene change. The 27-year-old Humperdinck, then working as Wagner’s assistant, composed a few temporary bars to cover the gap and, rather to his own surprise, found that they met with

Ebullience and majesty: Opera North’s Falstaff reviewed

Opera North has launched a ‘Green Season’, which means (among other things) that the sets and costumes for its new Falstaff are recycled. On one level, that’s nothing new: this eternally underfunded company has been performing miracles of sustainability for years now, and there’s usually at least one production each season that looks like it’s