Opera

Gaelle Arquez as Carmen in Barrie Kosky's production at the Royal Opera. [Photo: ROH / Bill Cooper]

Kosky’s Carmen is still the smartest show in town – and the most fun

8 December 2018 9:00 am

It’s December, and while musical theatre is busy celebrating ‘warm woollen mittens’, opera, as usual, is far more interested in…

Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica performing performing Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Concertino for Violin and Strings in 2014. Photo: Hiroyuki Ito/ Getty Images

As a symphonist, Mieczyslaw Weinberg was a master: Weinberg Weekend reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

It’s a strange compliment to pay a composer — that the most profound impression their music makes is of an…

The Gyorgy and Marta show: the nonagenarian couple have been an unlikely hit on YouTube

One of the last living avant-gardists speaks – Gyorgy Kurtag on his new Beckett opera

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Musical revolutionary and YouTube star Gyorgy Kurtag is preparing to première his first opera, based on Beckett’s Endgame, at La Scala. Norman Lebrecht meets him

Sarah Tynan's mesmerising Lucia in ENO's Lucia di Lammermoor. Photo: John Snelling

Real psychological horror and a mesmerising heroine: ENO’s Lucia di Lammermoor reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

How do you solve a problem like Lucia? Murder, madness, abuse, possibly even incest, all set to a soundtrack of…

English Touring Opera's handsome production of Dido and Aeneas. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

In praise of the English Touring Opera — a minor miracle of the arts world

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Wolverhampton; Workington; Blackburn; Sheffield; Lancaster; Hackney. Every year English Touring Opera does what our national opera company doesn’t: packs up…

Thrilling, heartbreaking music drama — you need to see it: Sarah-Jane Lewis as Annie with the chorus in ENO’s Porgy and Bess

Thrilling, heartbreaking music drama – you need to see it: ENO’s Porgy and Bess reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess springs to life fully formed, and pulls you in before a word has been sung. A…

I genuinely liked Siegfried – which almost never happens: Royal Opera's Ring cycle reviewed

13 October 2018 9:00 am

‘On Brünnhilde’s rock I drew the breath that called your name; so swift was my journey here.’ It’s Act Two…

A woman-child of dangerous assurance: Allison Cook as Salome in Adena Jacobs’s new production for English National Opera. [Catherine Ashmore]

A fascinating failure, but a failure nonetheless: ENO’s Salome reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Yes, Oscar Wilde never wrote it. No, Strauss didn’t intend it. In fact, the composer famously demanded the Dance of…

Opera North’s Tosca will leave you quivering

29 September 2018 9:00 am

At the end of Act Two of Tosca there are some 30 bars of orchestral music — accompaniment to a…

Letter signed by Wagner from an exhibition at the Saxon State and University Library in Dresden in 2013

As a writer, Richard Wagner was both sublime – and unreadable

22 September 2018 9:00 am

No one any longer denies the immense significance of Wagner’s musical-dramatic achievement, even if they find it repellent. But his…

An exalted experience even without a convincing central character: Siegfried in Edinburgh reviewed

18 August 2018 9:00 am

There’s one big problem with Wagner’s Siegfried, and the clue’s in the name. None of Wagner’s mature works hangs so…

Psycho thriller: Samuel Barber’s Vanessa at Glyndebourne Festival

Magnificent: Vanessa at Glyndebourne reviewed

11 August 2018 9:00 am

‘Outside this house the world has changed. Life is swifter than before; there is no time for idle gestures.’ Anatol,…

Thrilling energy & humour from Longborough Festival Opera: Ariadne auf Naxos reviewed

28 July 2018 9:00 am

‘They’ve dined well, they’ve drunk their fill, their brains are dull and slow. They’ll sit snoozing in the dark until…

An embarrassing and misshapen dud: Opera Holland Park’s Isabeau reviewed

21 July 2018 9:00 am

I’ve been trying to pinpoint the exact moment when it became impossible to take Mascagni’s Isabeau seriously. It wasn’t when…

Christina Gansch as Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande at Glyndebourne Festival

Vexing reading of a perplexing opera: Glyndebourne’s Pelléas et Mélisande reviewed

7 July 2018 9:00 am

The femme fatale was invented in France. A giddy, greedy child in her first incarnation, as the antiheroine of Abbé…

Sexy hints of affluence with top notes of fascism: Grange Park’s Roméo et Juliette reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Patrick Mason’s new production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette reminded me of something, but it took a while to work…

OPERA
The ENO Chorus in Acis and Galatea. Photo: Dani Harvey

A fun evening that finished early enough for dinner – neither a given in Handel

23 June 2018 9:00 am

On a sward of AstroTurf somewhere off Silicon Roundabout, Mountain Media is hosting its summer party and, well, it’s the…

A grim and impoverished place: Royal Opera’s new Lohengrin

Longborough continues to be a refuge for British Wagnerians fleeing idiotic productions

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Longborough Festival Opera, refuge for British Wagnerians fleeing unidiomatic musical performances and idiotically irrelevant and insulting productions, has rounded off…

Cold and confusing: Garsington's Die Zauberflöte reviewed

9 June 2018 9:00 am

The picnic hamper’s open, the bubbly is chilled, and country house opera is starting to eat itself. When you arrive…

Rachel Willis-Sorensen as the Marschallin and Kate Lindsey as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne Festival

Glyndebourne’s Der Rosenkavalier never forgets to be funny

2 June 2018 9:00 am

‘Comedy for music by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Music by Richard Strauss.’ That’s what the creators of Der Rosenkavalier wrote on…

Much is routine – and a fair amount is worse: Glyndebourne’s Madama Butterfly reviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

There is no such thing as a moderately good performance of Madama Butterfly, or, to be more precise, it’s not…

Teetering chords and incestous sex: Francesca da Rimini at La Scala

How Riccardo Chailly brought joy – and Italian opera – back to La Scala

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Riccardo Chailly has brought joy – and Italian opera – back to La Scala. But will it last? Norman Lebrecht investigates

An unmitigated triumph: Salome at Opera North reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Salome is my favourite opera by Richard Strauss, the only one where there is no danger, at any point, of…

A delicious operatic ragout of horror: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk reviewed

21 April 2018 9:00 am

There is famously no door into the late-night diner of Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’. Its three silent patrons are trapped behind…

Adult treats in RNCM’s Hansel and Gretel

This Hansel and Gretel has 'classic' stamped all over it

7 April 2018 9:00 am

It’s been a good couple of weeks for cuddly toys in opera. A big floppy Eeyore is the only comfort…