Opera

More than ever, this was Ulysses’ show: Royal Opera’s Return of Ulysses reviewed

20 January 2018 9:00 am

Spoiler alert: the final image of John Fulljames’s production of Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses at the Roundhouse is haunting.…

The National Youth Orchestra showed that they’re the equal of any professional band

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Everyone knows — don’t they? — that the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain is the UK’s youngest world-class symphony…

Claude Debussy and his daughter Chouchou near Arcachon, France, 1915

Debussy, Tippett and Wagner: the musical treats of 2018

6 January 2018 9:00 am

Richard Bratby on the musical treats in store over the year to come

A recording that makes you realise Les Troyens is one of the greatest operatic masterpieces

16 December 2017 9:00 am

Grade: A-   Berlioz’s Les Troyens, one of the greatest operatic masterpieces, manages to be neglected even if it is…

Prodigiously gifted but spiky: Nico Muhly

Composer Nico Muhly on drugs, cults and James MacMillan

25 November 2017 9:00 am

Will Damian Thompson make it out of the room without asking the composer Nico Muhly the Wrong Question?

Musically superb but there isn’t a moment where one feels for anyone: Semiramide reviewed

25 November 2017 9:00 am

The late arch-Rossinian Philip Gossett regarded Semiramide as a neoclassical work, vaguely and alarmingly suggesting to me a musical equivalent…

Excellent but there’s too much larking about: ENO’s Rodelinda reviewed

4 November 2017 9:00 am

ENO has revived Richard Jones’s production of Handel’s Rodelinda. It was warmly greeted on its first outing in 2014, though…

Was Richard Strauss the greatest film composer that never was?

21 October 2017 9:00 am

An opera without singers, a Strauss orchestra of just 16, and an early music ensemble playing Mahler: welcome to the…

One of the best shows we’ve seen in ages from the ETO: Giulio Cesare reviewed

14 October 2017 9:00 am

Previously on Giulio Cesare… English Touring Opera’s new season caters cannily to the box-set generation by chopping Handel’s Egyptian power-and-politics…

Opera North’s Cavalleria rusticana is the ideal opera to take a young Corbynista to

7 October 2017 9:00 am

Did you know that they used to make the Fiat 126 in the Eastern bloc? They did, apparently. There was…

The Old Town seen from the Charles Bridge

Notes on Prague, city of beer, music, and art-nouveau wonders

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Prague. Prague. It helps to say the name at least twice as a countermeasure to the ridiculous ease of modern…

Simon Rattle’s Rite of Spring was the best I’ve ever heard

30 September 2017 9:00 am

I was going to start with a little moan. About the shouty marketing, the digital diarrhoea, the sycophantic drivel, which,…

Two triumphant 'little greats' from Opera North

23 September 2017 9:00 am

It has been a reasonably good week for peripatetic opera-loving female-underwear fetishists. In La bohème at Covent Garden Musetta slipped…

Simon Rattle’s job title has less clout than a viscountcy

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Much fuss has been made of the title given to Sir Simon Rattle on arrival at the London Symphony Orchestra.…

Maria Callas as Anna Bolena

The unrepeated and unrepeatable brilliance of Maria Callas

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Michael Tanner on why the impact of Callas is unrepeated and unrepeatable

A DIY affair in the main – but I cried at the end: Royal Opera’s new La bohème reviewed

16 September 2017 9:00 am

The Royal Opera’s one production that, it has always confidently been claimed, need never be replaced has been replaced. John…

Was this forgotten operetta by the Waltz King the model for Der Rosenkavalier?

9 September 2017 9:00 am

‘First performance: Vienna, October 3, 1880’ declares the programme for Opera della Luna’s new production of Johann Strauss’s The Queen’s…

Pat and Richard Nixon in ENO’s 2006 production of John Adams’s Nixon in China

The woman who changed the direction of opera

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Philip Hensher on the woman who changed the direction of opera

Hellbound: Christopher Maltman in Ivan Fischer’s new Don Giovanni for Edinburgh

The best Peter Grimes I’ve ever seen

19 August 2017 9:00 am

‘Peter Grimes!’ Ranked high above us in the Usher Hall — a mob smelling blood, hot for the kill —…

Andrew Shore, Alex Otterburn, Allison Cook and Susan Bullock (left to right) in Edinburgh Festival’s Greek

Terrific production of a bona fide modern classic: Edinburgh Festival’s Greek reviewed

12 August 2017 9:00 am

The Edinburgh International Festival began with a double helping of incest. Curiously, Greek — Mark-Anthony Turnage’s East End retelling of…

All the world’s a stage in OHP’s Zaza

A fascinating rediscovery: Opera Holland Park’s Zaza reviewed

29 July 2017 9:00 am

The strings sweep upwards, the horns surge, and Leoncavallo’s Zaza throws itself into your arms. We don’t know it yet,…

The amazing new Grange Park Opera has produced a largely successful Die Walküre

22 July 2017 9:00 am

The new Grange Park Opera at Horsley is amazing, as everyone who visits it must agree. In less than a…

That this Fidelio is merely frustrating counts as something of a success

1 July 2017 9:00 am

If you want to see an opera director kicking a genius when they’re down — and I mean really sticking…

One of the most exalting operatic experience I have had: Longborough’s Tristan reviewed

24 June 2017 9:00 am

In an essay called ‘Wagner’s fluids’, Susan Sontag concludes, ‘The depth and grandeur of feeling of which Wagner is capable…

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world: Barbara Hannigan (Ophelia) and Allan Clayton (Hamlet) in Hamlet at Glyndebourne

Shattering climaxes and showstopping singing: Glyndebourne’s Hamlet reviewed

17 June 2017 9:00 am

Brett Dean’s new opera for Glyndebourne is a big-hearted romantic comedy, sunny and life-affirming. Only joking — this is contemporary…