Royal opera house

Daffy charm and diabolo tricks: Bolshoi's The Bright Stream reviewed

17 August 2019 9:00 am

The Bright Stream is a ballet about a collective farm. Forget everything you know about collectivism — the failed harvests,…

Silly but stellar: Bolshoi Ballet’s Spartacus reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

It’s togas-a-go-go as the Bolshoi bring Yuri Grigorovich’s 1956 ballet Spartacus to the Royal Opera House. Oh dear, I did…

Clare Presland as Susanna in Il segreto di Susanna at Opera Holland Park Image: © Ali Wright

It's not fair – I liked Il segreto di Susanna before it was cool: OHP's double bill reviewed

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Should a secret pleasure ever be shared? Spoiler alert: Susanna’s secret, unknown to her husband Gil, is that she smokes.…

Miraculous: Amanda Majeski as Katya Kabanova in Richard Jones’s Royal Opera production

One of the greatest operatic experiences of my life: Royal Opera’s Katya Kabanova reviewed

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Janacek’s upsetting opera Katya Kabanova, which hasn’t been seen in the UK for some time, turned up in two different…

Artists of the Royal Ballet against the easel-worthy backcloths of John Macfarlane’s ravishing designs for Swan Lake

Proper tutus, gorgeous designs, first-rate dancing: Royal Ballet’s new Swan Lake reviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

The Royal Ballet’s 2016 Frankenstein was a masterclass in how not to make narrative dance and the news that Liam…

The glums: Marisol Montiel and Ana Luisa Montiel in Taryn Simon’s ‘An Occupation of Loss’

Grief-conjurors, space-mincers and earth-shovellers: performance roundup

19 May 2018 9:00 am

They enter two by two. Grannies, mainly. Headscarved, mainly. Some locking arms. A bit glum. Like rejects from Noah’s ark.…

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…

Reducing the heroine to a demented rape victim is just what ballet needs: The Wind reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

A kindly cowboy, an East Coast bride, adultery, murder and madness. The Wind, Dorothy Scarborough’s 1925 Texas gothic novel (and…

Tyrone Singleton and Jenna Roberts in MacMillan’s Concerto

Kenneth MacMillan: the dark genius of British ballet – its destroyer, if you listen to some

21 October 2017 9:00 am

The 25th anniversary of Kenneth MacMillan’s death is finally giving us something to celebrate – and about time too, says Ismene Brown

The glorious Grand Pas from Paquita, part of the Mariinsky’s triple bill

I’m glad the Mariinksy don’t airbrush La Bayadère’s dodgy local colour

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Not really a vintage Mariinsky season — an odd choice of repertoire and some hit-and-miss male casting — but the…

The Mariinsky’s first British principal looked nervous – would his legs carry him through Swan Lake?

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Tall, handsome boys with long legs and beautifully arched feet do not grow on trees (if only). Every ballet director…

Too much redemption, not enough damnation: Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes reviewed

14 January 2017 9:00 am

From a film about ballet to a ballet about film. In reworking the 1948 Powell and Pressburger classic The Red…

Not so Super Mario: Vito Priante as Figaro in ‘Il barbiere di Siviglia’ at the Royal Opera House

Near-ideal première from our boldest opera company: WNO’s Merchant of Venice reviewed

24 September 2016 9:00 am

Alas, poor André Tchaikowsky. A survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, with an assumed name that probably did his musical career…

In her final column, Ismene Brown salutes the Bolshoi’s real stars: the corps de ballet

20 August 2016 9:00 am

The second half of the Bolshoi tour brought much fresher fare than the first: following the ubiquitous warhorses Don Quixote…

Maria Alexandrova as Kitri in ‘Don Quixote’

Stylistic conformism worse than it was under the Soviets: Bolshoi’s Don Quixote reviewed

6 August 2016 9:00 am

For almost 60 years, whatever the political weather, Russia and Britain have maintained mutually assured respect as far as ballet…

Not a repertory piece but in its dignity it earns respect: Royal Opera’s Oedipe reviewed

28 May 2016 9:00 am

For years I have been telling people that they should listen to, in the absence of staged performances, Enescu’s opera…

Vile body: Steven McRae as the Creature in ‘Frankenstein’

The Royal Ballet is literally losing the plot

21 May 2016 9:00 am

If a football manager produces a string of losses, the writing is on the wall and out he goes. He’s…

Predictably meh: Scottish Ballet’s new Swan Lake reviewed

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Every ballet company wants a box-office earner. But why Scottish Ballet’s leader Christopher Hampson kept on at David Dawson until…

Is there a funnier opera than Gerald Barry’s Importance of Being Earnest?

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Comic opera is no laughing matter. Seriously, when was the last time you laughed out loud in the opera house?…

The rotten fruits of Peter Maxwell Davies’s modernism

9 April 2016 9:00 am

The intransigence of Maxwell Davies, Boulez and Stockhausen is coming home to roost. Here were three composers, famous if not…

A new dance piece in which race definitely matters: Ballet Black’s Triple Bill reviewed

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Ballet’s romantic mantra could be summed up by John Keats’s ballad ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’, in which a young…

Choristers from the English National Opera (Photo: Getty)

ENO must go

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Last week Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, revealed that opera receives just under a fifth of the…

Is Twitter now in charge of the Royal Ballet’s artistic programming?

5 December 2015 9:00 am

For all the billing and cooing on public forums about the Royal Ballet’s The Two Pigeons revival, there’s a silent…

Anna Devin as Alcina and Nick Pritchard as Ruggiero in ‘La Liberazione di Ruggiero’ at Brighton Early Music Festival

Has there ever been a better time to be a lover of Baroque opera?

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Time was when early music was a 6 p.m. concert, Baroque began with Bach and ended with Corelli’s Christmas Concerto,…

Morgen und Abend: the kind of opera that gives opera a bad name

21 November 2015 9:00 am

The Royal Opera House seemed nervous about Georg Friedrich Haas’s world première Morgen und Abend. They sent out a pdf…