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Elsewhere

Desert Island Delights at the RCM: Offenbach's Robinson Crusoe

Britannia waives the rules: The EU Brexit in quotes’. Such was the headline of a BBC News feature on 28th June 2016. And, nearly three years later, those who watch the runaway Brexit-train hurtle ever nearer to the edge of Dover’s white cliffs might be tempted by the thought of leaving this sceptred (sceptic?) isle, for a life overseas.

Akira Nishimura’s Asters: A Major New Japanese Opera

Opened as recently as 1997, the Opera House of the New National Theatre Tokyo (NNTT) is one of the newest such venues among the world’s great capitals, but, with ten productions of opera a year, ranging from baroque to contemporary, this publicly-owned and run theatre seems determined to make an international impact.

The Outcast in Hamburg

It is a “a musicstallation-theater with video” that had its world premiere at the Mannheim Opera in 2012, revived just now in a new version by Vienna’s ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wein for one performance at the Vienna Konzerthaus and one performance in Hamburg’s magnificent Elbphilharmonie (above). Olga Neuwirth’s The Outcast and this rich city are imperfect bedfellows!

Leonard Bernstein: Tristan und Isolde in Munich on Blu-ray

Although Birgit Nilsson, one of the great Isolde’s, wrote with evident fondness – and some wit – of Leonard Bernstein in her autobiography – “unfortunately, he burned the candles at both ends” – their paths rarely crossed musically. There’s a live Fidelio from March 1970, done in Italy, but almost nothing else is preserved on disc.

Monarchs corrupted and tormented: ETO’s Idomeneo and Macbeth at the Hackney Empire

Promises made to placate a foe in the face of imminent crisis are not always the most well-considered and have a way of coming back to bite one - as our current Prime Minister is finding to her cost.

Der Fliegende Holländer and
Tannhäuser in Dresden

To remind you that Wagner’s Dutchman had its premiere in Dresden’s Altes Hoftheater in 1843 and his Tannhauser premiered in this same theater in 1845 (not to forget that Rienzi premiered in this Saxon court theater in 1842).

WNO's The Magic Flute at the Birmingham Hippodrome

A perfect blue sky dotted with perfect white clouds. Identikit men in bowler hats clutching orange umbrellas. Floating cyclists. Ferocious crustaceans.

Puccini’s Messa di Gloria: Antonio Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra

This was an oddly fascinating concert - though, I’m afraid, for quite the wrong reasons (though this depends on your point of view). As a vehicle for the sound, and playing, of the London Symphony Orchestra it was a notable triumph - they were not so much luxurious - rather a hedonistic and decadent delight; but as a study into three composers, who wrote so convincingly for opera, and taken somewhat out of their comfort zone, it was not a resounding success.

WNO's Un ballo in maschera at Birmingham's Hippodrome

David Pountney and his design team - Raimund Bauer (sets), Marie-Jeanne Lecca (costumes), Fabrice Kebour (lighting) - have clearly ‘had a ball’ in mounting this Un ballo in maschera, the second part of WNO’s Verdi trilogy and which forms part of a spring season focusing on what Pountney describes as the “profound and mysterious issue of Monarchy”.

Super #Superflute in North Hollywood

Pacific Opera Project’s rollicking new take on The Magic Flute is as much endearing fun as a box full of puppies.

Leading Ladies: Barbara Strozzi and Amiche

I couldn’t help wondering; would a chamber concert of vocal music by female composers of the 17th century be able sustain our concentration for 90 minutes? Wouldn’t most of us be feeling more dutiful than exhilarated by the end?

George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill at Wigmore Hall

This week, the Wigmore Hall presents two concerts from George Benjamin and Frankfurt’s Ensemble Modern, the first ‘at home’ on Wigmore Street, the second moving north to Camden’s Roundhouse. For the first, we heard Benjamin’s now classic first opera, Into the Little Hill, prefaced by three ensemble works by Cathy Milliken, Christian Mason, and, for the evening’s spot of ‘early music’, Luigi Dallapiccola.

Marianne Crebassa sings Berio and Ravel: Philharmonia Orchestra with Salonen

It was once said of Cathy Berberian, the muse for whom Luciano Berio wrote his Folk Songs, that her voice had such range she could sing the roles of both Tristan and Isolde. Much less flatteringly, was my music teacher’s description of her sound as akin to a “chisel being scraped over sandpaper”.

Rossini's Elizabeth I: English Touring Opera start their 2019 spring tour

What was it with Italian bel canto and the Elizabethan age? The era’s beautiful, doomed queens and swash-buckling courtiers seem to have held a strange fascination for nineteenth-century Italians.

Chameleonic new opera featuring Caruso in Amsterdam

Micha Hamel’s new opera, Caruso a Cuba, is constantly on the move. The chameleonic score takes on a myriad flavours, all with a strong sense of mood or place.

Ernst Krenek: Karl V, Bayerisches Staatsoper

Ernst Krenek’s Karl V op 73 at the Bayerisches Staatsoper, with Bo Skovhus, conducted by Erik Nielsen, in a performance that reveals the genius of Krenek’s masterpiece. Contemporary with Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, Berg’s Lulu, and Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, Krenek’s Karl V is a metaphysical drama, exploring psychological territory with the possibilities opened by new musical form.

A Sparkling Merry Widow at ENO

A small, formerly great, kingdom, is on the verge of bankruptcy and desperate to prevent its ‘assets’ from slipping into foreign hands. Sexual and political intrigues are bluntly exposed. The princes and patriarchs are under threat from both the ‘paupers’ and the ‘princesses’, and the two dangers merge in the glamorous figure of the irresistibly wealthy Pontevedrin beauty, Hanna Glawari, a working-class girl who’s married up and made good.

Mozart: Così fan tutte - Royal Opera House

Così fan tutte is, primarily, an ensemble opera and it sinks or swims on the strength of its sextet of singers - and this performance very much swam. In a sense, this is just as well because Jan Phillip Gloger’s staging (revived here by Julia Burbach) is in turns messy, chaotic and often confusing. The tragedy of this Così is that it’s high art clashing with Broadway; a theatre within an opera and a deceit wrapped in a conundrum.

Gavin Higgins' The Monstrous Child: an ROH world premiere

The Royal Opera House’s choice of work for the first new production in the splendidly redesigned Linbury Theatre - not unreasonably, it seems to have lost ‘Studio’ from its name - is, perhaps, a declaration of intent; it may certainly be received as such. Not only is it a new work; it is billed specifically as ‘our first opera for teenage audiences’.

Elektra at Lyric Opera of Chicago

From the first moments of the recent revival of Sir David McVicar’s production of Elektra by Richard Strauss at Lyric Opera of Chicago the audience is caught in the grip of a rich music-drama, the intensity of which is not resolved, appropriately, until the final, symmetrical chords.


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Performances

17 Mar 2019

Desert Island Delights at the RCM: Offenbach's Robinson Crusoe

Britannia waives the rules: The EU Brexit in quotes’. Such was the headline of a BBC News feature on 28th June 2016. And, nearly three years later, those who watch the runaway Brexit-train hurtle ever nearer to the edge of Dover’s white cliffs might be tempted by the thought of leaving this sceptred (sceptic?) isle, for a life overseas. »

Recently in Performances

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14 Nov 2004

SFO Presents The Flying Dutchman

With a ghoulishly murky 'Dutchman,' Opera puts on a truly grim production Joshua Kosman, Chronicle Music Critic Friday, November 12, 2004 It was, yes, a dark and stormy night as the San Francisco Opera unveiled its new production of "The... »

04 Nov 2004

FT Reviews Kát'a Kabanová

Kát'a Kabanová, Paris Opéra (Garnier) By Francis Carlin Published: November 4 2004 02:00 | Last updated: November 4 2004 02:00 After Salzburg, Brussels, Barcelona, Toulouse and several showings on TV, Christophe Marthaler's Kát'a Kabanova has at last turned up in... »

02 Nov 2004

Le Figaro Reviews Don Carlos at Wiener Staatsoper

Hommage à l'opéra français Christian Merlin [02 novembre 2004] Merci à l'Opéra de Vienne d'avoir osé ce à quoi Paris ne s'est pas encore risqué : ressusciter Don Carlos dans sa version originale archicomplète, en cinq actes et en français.... »

01 Nov 2004

FT Reviews Handel's Guilio Cesare in Egitto

Guilio Cesare in Egitto, Boston Baroque By George Loomis Published: November 1 2004 02:00 | Last updated: November 1 2004 02:00 One of the many virtues of Handel's Guilio Cesare in Egitto is that the roles of Caesar and Cleopatra... »

31 Oct 2004

Mefistofele in Amsterdam

by Jan Neckers Let's start with the main assets of the new Mefistofele in Amsterdam: the singers. Gidon Saks has one of the biggest booming bass voices that ever sounded in an opera house (yes, I heard Ghiaurov but Saks... »

28 Oct 2004

L'Incoronazione di Poppea at the Barbican

L'Incoronazione di Poppea Barbican Hall, London By David Murray Published: October 28 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 28 2004 03:00 This was the third glorious concert-performance of a Monteverdi opera at the Barbican - his 1643 Coronation of Poppea... »

25 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Mercadante's La vestale

La vestale, Wexford Festival By Andrew Clark Published: October 25 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 25 2004 03:00 The compacting of operatic history into a performable repertoire leads us to make all kinds of false assumptions. One is that... »

22 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Don Carlos at the Vienna State Opera

Don Carlos, Vienna State Opera By Larry L Lash Published: October 22 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 22 2004 03:00 Despite character motivation and plot development of revelatory clarity and depth, top-notch singing, gorgeous orchestral playing and insightful conducting,... »

22 Oct 2004

Four Reviews of Die Zauberflöte at the Met

Julie Taymor -- and Mozart Too By HEIDI WALESON [Wall Street Journal] October 14, 2004; Page D7 New York The Metropolitan Opera usually showcases singers, not star directors, but the Met's newest production is most definitely the "Julie Taymor 'Zauberflote'"... »

15 Oct 2004

Two Reviews of "The Dialogues of the Carmelites"

Unbearably Good Classical Music BY JAY NORDLINGER [New York Sun] October 14, 2004 Is there any opera more shattering than "The Dialogues of the Carmelites," when it's done well? On Tuesday night, City Opera did it well. It was... »

15 Oct 2004

FT Reviews L'Incoronazione di Poppeia

L'Incoronazione di Poppeia, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris By Francis Carlin [Financial Times] Published: October 15 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 15 2004 03:00 If you liked David McVicar's staging of Agrippina, you may like his new Poppeia. Or... »

14 Oct 2004

A Review of Pelléas et Mélisande at Berlin

Pelléas et Mélisande, Deutsche Oper, Berlin By Shirley Apthorp [Financial Times] Published: October 14 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 14 2004 03:00 Yniold wants to know why these sheep huddle together and why they are so silent. We know... »

14 Oct 2004

Two Reviews of Rolando Villazón's New York Recital Debut

An Introduction in 5 Languages By ANNE MIDGETTE [New York Times] The powers that be in the opera world are desperate to discover the next hot male phenomenon. On Monday, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur, Rolando... »

12 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Elektra At Frankfurt Opera

Elektra, Frankfurt Opera By Shirley Apthorp Published: October 12 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 12 2004 03:00 "Everywhere, in all the courts, there are dead bodies, all who are alive are smeared with blood, yet all are smiling," sings... »

11 Oct 2004

FT Reviews La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein

La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, Châtelet, Paris By Francis Carlin Published: October 11 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 11 2004 03:00 Were the Brits in the audience the only ones to get the allusion? Felicity Lott's Grand Duchess is... »

10 Oct 2004

Cecilia Bartoli at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris

La réhabilitation pour Salieri Au TCE, Cecilia Bartoli se fait l'éblouissante avocate d'un musicien dont la postérité retiendra avant tout les soupçons d'empoisonnement sur la personne de Mozart : Antonio Salieri. Elle consacre l'intégralité d'un récital à celui que Gluck... »

10 Oct 2004

Le Monde Reviews Messiaen's "Saint François d'Assise"

La mise en apesanteur divine de "Saint François d'Assise", SDF de la foi LE MONDE | 08.10.04 | 15h02 A l'Opéra Bastille, les tableaux franciscains d'Olivier Messiaen par Stanislas Nordey. Avec cette nouvelle production du Saint-François d'Assise de Messiaen -... »

09 Oct 2004

"La Voix Humaine" at Vremena Goda Festival

Voznesenskaya - only too human by Neil McGowan La Voix Humaine (concert performance) Vremena Goda Festival Vremena Goda Orchestra/Bulakhov 29 September 2004 Bringing down the curtain on the Vremena Goda Festival this year was the Festival's first-ever operatic offering -... »

08 Oct 2004

Moscow Times: Entering the Ring

George Loomis reports on Wagner opera, Russian-style. By George Loomis Published: October 8, 2004 Last spring the Metropolitan Opera gave three complete cycles of Richard Wagner's four-opera saga, "Der Ring des Nibelungen" (The Ring of the Nibelung). It was business... »

06 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Tamerlano

Tamerlano, Opéra de Lille By Francis Carlin Published: October 6 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 6 2004 03:00 There should be a golden rule for producers: don't make life difficult for yourself and the audience. In Lille's magnificently restored... »

30 Sep 2004

Le Figaro on Charpentier Festival

FESTIVAL Marc-Antoine Charpentier à Ambronay Triomphe de la jeunesse Gérard Corneloup [30 septembre 2004] En cette année du bicentenaire de la mort de Marc-Antoine Charpentier, occasion unique de le sortir de l'ombre que lui fait encore Lully, le festival d'Ambronay... »

30 Sep 2004

FROSCH at Innsbruck

Die Frau ohne Schatten, Tiroler Landstheater, Innsbruck By Larry L Lash Published: September 29 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 29 2004 03:00 It was a strange match: Richard Strauss's hugest, most difficult opera - with one of the largest... »

28 Sep 2004

Die Walküre at the Met

Die Walküre, Metropolitan Opera, New York By Martin Bernheimer Published: September 28 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 28 2004 03:00 For the past couple of decades at the Metropolitan Opera, Die Walküre was the exclusive property of James Levine,... »

27 Sep 2004

FT Reviews La Rondine

La Rondine, New York City Opera By Martin Bernheimer Published: September 27 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 27 2004 03:00 La Rondine certainly isn't Puccini's easiest or most successful opera. Completed in 1917, it flutters - sometimes elegantly, sometimes... »

21 Sep 2004

Andrew Patner Reviews Don Giovanni at the Lyric Opera

Don Giovanni, Lyric Opera, Chicago By Andrew Patner Published: September 21 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 21 2004 03:00 A half century ago, a trio of twentysomething operaphiles offered Chicago what they dubbed a "calling card" production of Mozart's... »

20 Sep 2004

Faust in Hong Kong

Faust, Hong Kong Cultural Centre By Ken Smith Published: September 20 2004 13:25 | Last updated: September 20 2004 13:25 Hong Kong's opera lovers, lacking a full-time opera house and gaining a standing company only in the past year, have... »

17 Sep 2004

FT Reviews The Greek Passion

The Greek Passion, Royal Opera House, London By Andrew Clark Published: September 17 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 17 2004 03:00 All human life is here: prayer and pageant, self-sacrifice and self-righteousness, humour and hypocrisy, feast and famine. Opera... »

16 Sep 2004

FT Reviews Tobias and the Angel

Tobias and the Angel, English Touring Opera, St John's Church, London By David Murray Published: September 16 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 16 2004 03:00 The composer Jonathan Dove may have called his Tobias, now touring cathedrals and churches,... »

15 Sep 2004

FT Reviews LA Opera's Ariadne auf Naxos

Ariadne auf Naxos Music Center, Los Angeles By Allan Ulrich Published: September 15 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 15 2004 03:00 William Friedkin's mounting of the Strauss-von Hoffmannsthal comedy handsomely and wittily confirms the general director Plácido Domingo's belief... »

15 Sep 2004

Le Figaro Reviews Pelléas et Mélisande at Palais Garnier

Debussy tout feu tout glace La critique de Jacques Doucelin [15 septembre 2004] Une salle qui tousse à gorge déployée en été, hors de toute épidémie de grippe, au mieux manque d'attention, au pire s'ennuie. Voilà le résultat du transfert... »

14 Sep 2004

FT: Ariadne auf Naxos, Welsh National Opera, Cardiff

Ariadne auf Naxos, Welsh National Opera, Cardiff By Richard Fairman Published: September 14 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 14 2004 03:00 The Prologue to Ariadne auf Naxos is all about the backstage shenanigans before a performance - a bit... »

13 Sep 2004

NYT: Anne Midgette Reviews Katya Kabanova

CRITIC'S PICK | ANNE MIDGETTE A Star to Shed Light on Janacek's Bleak Operatic Landscape OPINIONS may differ as to what constitutes a highlight at the Metropolitan Opera these days, but few disagreed last season about Karita Mattila's performance as... »

10 Sep 2004

WSJ: The Comeback Composer

The Comeback Composer Opera World Taps Handel To Woo New Audiences; Cleopatra in Gold Lamé By HEIDI WALESON The last time Michael Goodman had season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Gerald Ford was president and pet... »

10 Sep 2004

FT: Martin Bernheimer reviews Daphne

Daphne New York City Opera By Martin Bernheimer Published: September 10 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 10 2004 03:00 It took 66 years for Richard Strauss'sDaphne to reach a stage in New York. We must be grateful for belated... »

09 Sep 2004

FT: Orion/Saariaho, Bluebeard/Bártok BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London

By David Murray Published: September 9 2004 05:00 | Last updated: September 9 2004 05:00 Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducted the UK premiere of Kaija Saariaho's grand new Orion followed by Bártok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle. Though the works have nothing in common,... »

08 Sep 2004

Le Figaro: Charpentier en majesté

Charpentier en majesté Jacques Doucelin [08 septembre 2004] Bien avant d'imposer la victoire définitive de la vague baroque avec Atys, de Lully, William Christie s'était attelé à la redécouverte de Marc-Antoine Charpentier, son rival à la cour, dont le public... »

07 Sep 2004

NYT: Enough to Make Handel Reach for His Walkman

Enough to Make Handel Reach for His Walkman By ANTHONY TOMMASINI During the late 1720's Handel had two rival prima donnas in the London opera company he ran: Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni. From all reports both were superb sopranos... »

03 Sep 2004

Opera Japonica: Maria Nockin's Letter from America

Summer in Santa Fe The most difficult tickets to obtain at Santa Fe this summer were for Vincenzo Bellini's seldom performed opera, La sonnambula. It was a great pleasure to hear the sumptuous long melodies of this lyrical work, which... »

23 Aug 2004

The Scotsman: When modern dance meets the Underworld

When modern dance meets the Underworld KELLY APTER Orfeo ed Euridice by Opera North and Emio Greco WHEN International Festival director Brian McMaster invited Italian dancer Emio Greco to Edinburgh in 2000, he was squeezed into a late-night, post-opera slot... »