Blog Archives

Briefly… ENO’s Boheme revisited

ENO's La Boheme with Melody Moore credit Tristram KentonLike all the great music theatre pieces you only really see and feel their greatness when the acting is honest, true, and sure. In the case of Puccini’s La Boheme youth is a factor, too, and when that youth is largely home-grown there is double the cause for celebration. Jonathan Miller’s Brassai-inspired staging casts a … [Read More]

Posted on 30/04/2013
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Posted in Asides

Charpentier “Medea”, English National Opera, London Coliseum (Review)

Hell hath no fury… and in Medea’s case comes so precipitously that even her children must be taken from the room whenever her demons threaten an unscheduled appearance. That is but one of many telling details that trouble the senses in David McVicar’s new staging of Charpentier’s take on the myth at English National Opera … [Read More]

Posted on 16/02/2013
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Verdi “La Traviata”, English National Opera, London Coliseum (Review)

So this is La Traviata laid bare, stripped of all superfluities (some chorus, all ballet, offstage reveries in the final scene), and played out “in secret”, as it were, behind closed curtains. Actually the director Peter Konwitschny has created a Freudian succession of curtains opening and closing to infinity. They are at once a theatrical … [Read More]

Posted on 03/02/2013
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Bizet “Carmen”, English National Opera, London Coliseum

ENO CarmenThere are few directors who can realise the potential of bodies on stage as dramatically as Calixto Bieito. Toilet cubicles aside (and it says something of our national press that this has become the image most associated with him) his ENO production of Verdi’s A Masked Ball was one of the most physically exciting of … [Read More]

Posted on 22/11/2012
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Vaughan Williams “Pilgrim’s Progress”, English National Opera, London Coliseum

ENO Vaughan Williams' Pilgrim's ProgressNot for nothing did Vaughan Williams frame his “Morality” The Pilgim’s Progress with scenes of John Bunyan imprisoned. Bunyan would not conform to Church of England doctrines and neither, in his way, would Vaughan Williams. The Pilgrim’s Progress is a spiritual journey – a quest for answers – and the length of its gestation suggests … [Read More]

Posted on 06/11/2012
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Mozart “Don Giovanni”, English National Opera, London Coliseum (Review)

Don Giovanni ENO“Coming Soon”, declares the contentious poster, though even the notion that Don Giovanni would have the time or the inclination to open the packet leave alone use the condom hardly squares with the reckless dash of Mozart and Da Ponte’s narrative. No matter – at least the show itself has lost some of its dead … [Read More]

Posted on 18/10/2012
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Martinu “Julietta”, English National Opera – Review ****

Julietta. The name is spelt out across the front cloth in the shifting body shapes of a sleeping figure – Michel Lepic, a bookseller (Peter Hoare). He stirs where the final “A” should be and with a suitcase packed full of dreams goes in search of his “eternal feminine” to a small French coastal town … [Read More]

Posted on 18/09/2012
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Prom 55: Britten “Peter Grimes”, English National Opera, Edward Gardner – Review ****

You can take the opera out of the opera house but you can’t take the opera house out of the opera – not when the spirit of David Alden’s benchmark 2009 production of Britten’s Peter Grimes resides so potently in English National Opera’s collective psyche. Company members may have come and gone in the interim … [Read More]

Posted on 25/08/2012
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Albarn & Norris “Dr Dee”, English National Opera

A blackbird descends, Damon Albarn sings of England, and a cavalcade of our national identity  – from punk rocker to city gent, cricket to morris dancing, suffragettes to Lord Nelson – passes before our eyes, each representative consigned to history in a gently humorous and quite literal fall from grace. The chronicle of Dr Dee[Read More]

Posted on 27/06/2012
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Posted in Reviews

Britten “Billy Budd”, English National Opera

The sight of Kim Begley’s old and broken Captain Vere silently mouthing Billy Budd’s death sentence as it is read out in the final scene of Britten’s opera will be one of the enduring images of David Alden’s new English National Opera production. It’s a terrible mantra that he will repeat over and over and … [Read More]

Posted on 19/06/2012
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