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

The future of opera – I hope: WNO’s Candide reviewed

Bernstein’s Candide is the operetta that ought to work, but never quite does. Voltaire’s featherlight cakewalk through human misery, set to tunes from the West Side Story guy: what’s not to like? And what can be so wrong with its twinkle-toed score that the combined rewriting efforts (and this is not remotely the full list)

Featherweight fun: La Cenerentola, at Nevill Holt Opera, reviewed

‘Goodness Triumphant’ is the subtitle of Rossini’s La Cenerentola, and you’d better believe he delivers. It’s the sweetest thing imaginable; true, the stepsisters are awful, but their spite bubbles over in streams of such sunny major-key effervescence that it’s hard to hold it against them. As for their father Don Magnifico, you can’t seriously hiss

Electrifying: the Grange Festival’s Queen of Spades reviewed

In opera, as in so much high-budget entertainment, expectation management is half the battle. With its massive Greek Revival mansion, approached through miles of rolling parkland, The Grange Festival has the grandest setting of any of the summer festivals; and that might have something to do with why the opera served up there has so

Crapcore: ENO’s The Rhinegold reviewed

Tubas and timpani thunder in The Rhinegold as the giants Fasolt and Fafner, having built Valhalla, arrive to claim their fee: Freia, goddess of beauty and youth. It doesn’t go well. Suddenly Fasolt drops his defences and declares his yearning (the translation is John Deathridge’s) for ‘a woman who’d lovingly and softly live with us