Opera

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…

Verdi would have been disarmed: Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth

At last, a great achievement at the Royal Opera: Macbeth reviewed

31 March 2018 8:00 am

At last, a great time at the Royal Opera: a magnificent performance, in every way, of Verdi’s Macbeth, curiously but…

ENO's La traviata was so comprehensive a flop that it is painful to go into detail

24 March 2018 9:00 am

Handel’s Rinaldo has not been highly regarded even by his most ardent admirers. I have never understood why — even…

Frustratingly unclear: From the House of the Dead reviewed

17 March 2018 9:00 am

Janacek is the master of the operatic title. Think of the slippery, sleight-of-hand emphasis of Jenufa in its original Czech…

A short history of French musical decadence

10 March 2018 9:00 am

My two attempts to see Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at the Guildhall School were frustrated by the weather. Forced back…

A mischievous, daring production that produces the goods: Iolanthe reviewed

24 February 2018 9:00 am

‘Welcome to our hearts again, Iolanthe!’ sings the fairy chorus in Gilbert and Sullivan’s fantasy-satire, and during this exuberant new…

A step too far: the new production of Carmen at the Royal Opera House

A colossal bore: Royal Opera's Carmen reviewed

17 February 2018 9:00 am

The new production of Bizet’s Carmen at the Royal Opera has received mixed reviews. It shouldn’t have done. They should…

Jonas Kaufmann’s presence or absence can make or break a season

‘I was really, really scared’: Jonas Kaufmann opens up about his #MeToo moment

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Jonas Kaufmann, one of the world’s greatest tenors, talks to Norman Lebrecht about his #MeToo moment

Ball breaker: Opera North’s production of Un ballo in maschera

Yet another dud Ballo in maschera: Opera North’s new production reviewed

10 February 2018 9:00 am

A chaste act of adultery and a silent conversation: these are the encounters at the heart of Un ballo in…

Celebrating Carter was one of the most energising musical occasions in years

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Das Rheingold at the Royal Festival Hall was, all told, a disappointment, but it might not have been had there…

Royal Opera’s Tosca is a sloppy affair

27 January 2018 9:00 am

One of the Royal Opera’s greatest virtues is the care it takes with its revivals, even those that are virtually…

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…