Blog Archives

“Billy Budd”, Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Review)

billy budd image richard hubert smith“This is not his trial, it is mine”, says Captain Fairfax Vere as he sees the inevitability of Billy Budd’s condemnation. “My heart’s broken, my life’s broken”, he concludes, and by having him bear witness to Billy’s execution as his older, tormented self, director Michael Grandage has him (Vere) effectively witnessing his own. Billy’s death [Read More]

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

Briefly… Falstaff, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Falstaff Glynebourne 2013 photo Tristram KentonIt’s a world of girl guides, animatronic cats, and cabbages. Ford’s garden apparently yields nothing else. And whilst the flat surfaces and wonky perspectives of designer Ultz’ sets aren’t too prepossessing in themselves they serve the child in director Richard Jones accentuating an eccentricity in his production that is indubitably and forever English. There’s even … [Read More]

Posted on 25/05/2013
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Posted in Asides

Ariadne auf Naxos, Glyndebourne (Review)

Ariadne Auf Naxos photo: Alistair MuirThe Major-Domo promises fireworks during the Prologue of Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Katharina Thoma, the director of Glyndebourne’s new staging, drops a bombshell – actually several bombshells. Glyndebourne’s wartime history – as a refuge for evacuees – would seem to have chimed with the darker implications of the opera within – namely … [Read More]

Posted on 19/05/2013
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Mozart “Le nozze di Figaro”, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

It’s the age of long hair and raging hormones, wide lapels and wider collars, the age of new found “permissiveness” where the world and his dog are gagging for some extra-curricular congress and the great and good are headed for their lavish Spanish villas with or without the wife. We’re outside just such a villa … [Read More]

Posted on 28/06/2012
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Puccini “La Boheme”, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

More Basildon than Bastille, David McVicar’s grungy staging of La Boheme heralded the new millennium amidst concrete and steel, fire hazards and fire escapes, chavs and chav nots, bringing our “bohemians” into the here and now with a cynical nod or two at our own struggling youth culture and the slightly surreal sensation of stepping … [Read More]

Posted on 07/06/2012
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Janacek “The Cunning Little Vixen”, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

It might be deduced that the only thing worse than working with children and animals would be working with children as animals. But Leos Janacek was unfazed by the old Hollywood adage and his cartoon-strip derived opera The Cunning Little Vixen was spirited from page to stage with uncynical conviction and, it has to be … [Read More]

Posted on 21/05/2012
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Handel “Rinaldo”, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

It’s the second school “outing” of the season. First Christopher Alden took Britten back to visit his past in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at ENO and now Robert Carsen is playing schoolboy heroics and fantasy football with Handel’s Rinaldo. Yes, it’s history in action in this particular classroom: a giant blackboard is our portal … [Read More]

Posted on 03/07/2011
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Wagner “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Some pieces you just have to trust and trust implicitly. When a text is as good as Wagner’s Die Meistersinger it’s a wise director who takes a step back and let the words, the characters, the bountiful score go forth and prosper. Some might call David McVicar’s first Glyndebourne staging “traditional” but that’s something of … [Read More]

Posted on 22/05/2011
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