ENO’s Peter Grimes shows a major international company operating at full artistic power 

In David Alden’s production of Peter Grimes, the mob assembles before the music has even started – silhouetted at the back, muttering and menacing. Ah, Britten’s mob: simultaneously the source of some of the most electrifying, elemental choral writing since Mussorgsky and a licence for British directors to indulge in premium-strength snobbery. Fully endorsed by the composer, of course: it’s essential to Britten’s artistic schema that we believe the inhabitants of small-town England are only ever one beer away from forming a lynch mob. As their hatred boils over, Alden has them pull out little Union Flags, completely without pretext. There’s no trace of political nationalism anywhere in the libretto

Too affectionate, not enough cruelty: Don Pasquale, at the Royal Opera House, reviewed

There are many things to enjoy in the Royal Opera’s revival of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, but perhaps the most surprising is that the director plays it straight. This was my first encounter with Damiano Michieletto’s newish (2019) staging, and the plan was to approach it without preconceptions. (If we’re about to experience, say, a Bold Feminist Re-Imagining, I’d prefer to deduce it from the evidence on stage.) But for an opera premièred in 1843, Don Pasquale is distinctly old-school, with all its commedia dell’arte assumptions intact and whirring away like clockwork. The elderly miser Don Pasquale disinherits his lovelorn nephew and marries a compliant young bride who instantly becomes an

A coherent evening of real opera: GSMD’s Triple Bill reviewed

Covid has been many things to the arts — most of them unprintable. A plague, a scourge, a disaster from which many institutions and artists won’t recover, it has also been a great equaliser. Suddenly there’s space to be heard, silence to be filled. In a digital world no one cares about the size of your stage. All you need is a laptop and a good idea and you’re competing alongside the Met or the Royal Opera. In the case of the Virtual Opera Project it was a shed and a homemade green-screen. Oh, and a cast, chorus and creative team of well over 100. And did I mention the