Latest opera reviews

ENO and Improbable's Satyagraha an astonishing spectacle

English National Opera sing in Sanskrit, providing no translation apart from the occasional quotation projected onto the back wall: it can only be Philip Glass’ Satyagraha. 

Thursday 21st November 2013 Read more...
High gothic and fairies: Massenet's Cendrillon at the Royal Academy

Royal Academy of Music perform Massenet's Cendrillon 

Wednesday 20th November 2013 Read more...
The Fulham Ring concludes with Götterdämmerung

Fulham Opera's absurdly ambitious Ring cycle came to a close with Götterdämmerung, though they are presenting the cycle complete next February as well. The instrumentation was bizarre and the stage direction problematic, though the show included some excellent singing.

Tuesday 12th November 2013 Read more...
Hampstead Garden Opera entertain thoroughly with Figaro

Hampstead Garden Opera's Marriage of Figaro pulls out all the stops at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, producing a thoroughly uplifing performance of this classic comic opera.

Tuesday 12th November 2013 Read more...
Simon McBurney's ingenious Magic Flute for English National Opera

English National Opera's new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute is worth seeing for the sheer brilliance of its stagecraft, despite being musically underwhelming and downplaying the work's darker elements. Much about it is simply glorious.

Tuesday 12th November 2013 Read more...
From the sublime to the fashion-fabulous: Debussy and Donizetti at the Guildhall School

The Guildhall School's curious double bill of Debussy and Donizetti may have brought together two very, very different operas, but they provided the ideal platform to showcase its future stars. And the set for the Donizetti was not just beautiful, but visionary.

Wednesday 6th November 2013 Read more...
Sob-along-a-Verdi: OperaUpClose's La Traviata at the King's Head Theatre, Islington

Taking Verdi's classic opera to the 1920s, OperaUpClose's La Traviata has an enviable intensity and features some haunting singing.

Monday 4th November 2013 Read more...
Keith Warner and Stefanos Lazaridis' grimly compelling Wozzeck at Covent Garden

Alban Berg's expressionist opera Wozzeck is revived by the Royal Opera House here in Keith Warner's production, featuring Simon Keenlyside in the title role. You won't come out of this grinning and humming the tunes, but it's a compelling, cathartic theatrical experience which deserved its long ovation.

Friday 1st November 2013 Read more...
The exotic wedding of murder and music: Sciarrino's The Killing Flower

Music Theatre Wales' minimalist presentation of The Killing Flower impressed with technically demanding singing and a highly stylized production at ROH Linbury Studio.

Monday 28th October 2013 Read more...
Lloyd's Iernin isn't worth Surrey Opera's efforts

Surrey Opera celebrate the centennial of George Lloyd this year by performing his 'neglected' first opera, Iernin. Performing alongside Southgate Opera Chorus and orchestra at Trinity School, London.

Monday 28th October 2013 Read more...
Ding, dong, the Sphinx is dead: Greek at ROH Linbury

The East End Oedipus of Berkoff's Greek meets Opera in Mark Anthony Turnage's piece. Performed at ROH Linbury and directed by Michael McCarthy, Music Theatre Wales' production of Greek "packs a punch!"

Wednesday 23rd October 2013 Read more...
John Upperton and Midsummer Opera make a game attempt at Verdi's Otello

Midsummer Opera's semi-staged version of Otello at St Johns Waterloo included some splendid singing despite occasional struggles.

Tuesday 22nd October 2013 Read more...
Baring all: joyous abandon from Opera Naked at the St James Theatre

Unexpected Opera's Opera Naked is a production with a "passionate, beating heart", in which singers bare all as they share their personal experiences of what Opera means to them. Opera Naked was performed at St Johns Theatre 15-20th October 2013.

Monday 21st October 2013 Read more...
ENO's Madam Butterfly is once again a must-see

The libretto, with its gut-wrenchingly tragic ending, and Puccini's ravishing, oriental-inspired score tug at the heartstrings, but any number of operas can claim to do that. What makes this production such a success is the attention to detail with its understanding of Japanese aesthetic principles, dramatically colourful lighting and astonishingly intricate costumes.

Friday 18th October 2013 Read more...
Desperate devotions: Puccini's Suor Angelica by Giornata Opera at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden

Suor Angelica is ideal hunting-ground for a young opera company like Giornata, who have picked Puccini’s often-neglected personal favourite to perform at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden this October.

Wednesday 16th October 2013 Read more...
Mummy always knows best: Handel's Agrippina, by English Touring Opera

This joyous production of Agrippina by English Touring Opera, directed by James Conway on a beautiful revolving set by Samal Blak, makes the most of the music, the characters, and the alternately hilarious and unsettling plot of Handel's early masterpiece.

Monday 14th October 2013 Read more...
Smooth sailing for English Touring Opera's Jason

Admiration and applause are due to English Touring Opera, following their impressive production of Francesco Cavalli's 1649 opera Jason, as part of their series of Baroque operas from Venice.

Monday 7th October 2013 Read more...
Burlesque and bats: Christopher Alden reinvents Die Fledermaus for ENO

This ENO production of Johann Strauss's light-hearted classic gives both operetta and Regietheater a good name, with high-quality singing and a frivolous production from Christopher Alden.

Wednesday 2nd October 2013 Read more...
The Academy of Ancient Music opens its 40th anniversary season with brilliantly staged L'Orfeo

Monteverdi's L'Orfeo opened the Academy of Ancient Music's 40th anniversary season at the Barbican, in an intelligent, updated semi-staging. John Mark Ainsley sang the title role powerfully, and Richard Egarr led the orchestra dynamically.

Wednesday 2nd October 2013 Read more...
Strawberry fields forever: OperaUpClose's Two Caravans at the King's Head Theatre

Based on Marina Lewycka's 2007 novel of the same name, Two Caravans takes us into the rough, sad but somehow amusing world of Ukrainian strawberry-pickers in Kent, and reflects back some uncomfortable home truths at a home-grown audience. Buzzing with energy, a lively cast offer laughs, thrills, spills... and enough strawberries to make you sick of the sight of them.

Tuesday 1st October 2013 Read more...
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