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The Pirates of Penzance, London Coliseum

pirates of penzance @ ENOLet it never be said that English National Opera hasn’t done its bit for Gilbert and Sullivan – but the fact that only one its several stagings has achieved recognition and longevity surely says something about the very particular difficulties of this fragile repertoire and the suitability (or otherwise) of the London Coliseum as a … [Read More]

Posted on 10/05/2015
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Posted in Musical Theatre, Opera, Reviews

The Girl of the Golden West, English National Opera, London Coliseum

Girl of the Golden West Susan BullockWell, there won’t be any complaints about performing this one in English – or should that be American. Thank heavens Richard Jones has made Puccini’s spaghetti western an operatic-home-counties-free-zone and got his cast delivering Kelley Rourke’s translation with enough of a trans-Atlantic drawl to affect a colloquial tang. Let’s face it, great swathes of this … [Read More]

Posted on 03/10/2014
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Otello, English National Opera, London Coliseum

otello enoIt is 30 years ago – but feels like another life – that David Alden first exploded on to English National Opera’s Coliseum stage with his forever notorious cut-price staging of Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa. None of us there will ever forget the high-drama of that evening on stage and off. The booing began with the … [Read More]

Posted on 14/09/2014
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Benvenuto Cellini, London Coliseum

Benvenuto CelliniHector Berlioz and Terry Gilliam were undoubtedly made for each other – kindred spirits with wild imaginations, impractical demands, and a touch of anarchy. But Berlioz was a chaotic dramatist at best and in a piece like Benvenuto Cellini which he and his librettists described as an Opéra semi-seria but was in truth a miserable … [Read More]

Posted on 06/06/2014
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Rigoletto, English National Opera, London Coliseum

Rigoletto Eno 2024 (c) MuirThe hunchback slumps in his chair like some malevolent watchkeeper – master of all he surveys. But as the black front curtain is drawn back like a shroud or veil of deceit, the world according to Rigoletto is revealed like a mirror image of his dark heart, a place of dastardly deeds and abject humiliation. … [Read More]

Posted on 14/02/2014
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Peter Grimes, English National Opera, London Coliseum

English National Opera’s “ownership” of Britten’s Peter Grimes was more than a little advanced by the arrival of David Alden’s thrilling staging in 2009 – and seeing it again now only confirms what I thought and felt then, that this is physically and emotionally the theatrical embodiment of the piece: a bold expressionistic reimagining of … [Read More]

Posted on 30/01/2014
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

The Magic Flute, English National Opera, London Coliseum (Review)

ENO Magic Flute with Ben Johnson and Devon Guthrie photo by Robbie JackOut of the mouths of babes… the wise child that is Simon McBurney takes his cue from the “three young boys steeped in ancient learning” – a description he takes literally by transforming them into little old men – and spirits us through Mozart’s The Magic Flute with a mix of naiveté and cunning, invention, … [Read More]

Posted on 08/11/2013
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Briefly… Die Fledermaus, English National Opera

Die Fledermaus ENOEisenstein’s pocket watch (every seducer needs one) looms large and his wife Rosalinde is not having a good night. Recurring nightmares accost her and, wouldn’t you know, bats figure in every one. Is Christopher Alden reallygoing all Freudian on Johann Strauss’ tissue of an operetta? I’m afraid so. Soon as you like Rosalinde’s secret lover … [Read More]

Posted on 01/10/2013
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Posted in Asides

Fidelio, English National Opera (Review)

The first words we hear don’t belong to Fidelio at all, the first music does, but not at all where you expect to find it. If you’ve read your programme (and who does before the show begins?) you’ll find a poem entitled “Labyrinth” by Jorge Luis Borges from a collection In Praise of Darkness. … [Read More]

Posted on 26/09/2013
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

“Wozzeck”, English National Opera, London Coliseum (Review)

Wozzeck (Leigh Melrose) photo: Tristram KentonIf you should take your seats prematurely in the London Coliseum you’ll find yourself confronted with a group of serving British soldiers. You’ll shift a little uneasily under their gaze. There they are, staring, smoking, loitering; there we are, on a visit to the opera. There’s a disconnect. Among those soldiers is Wozzeck (Leigh Melrose), … [Read More]

Posted on 12/05/2013
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

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