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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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Donizetti’s ‘Belisario’ marches in…

Among Donizetti’s 75 or so operas Belisario has all the credentials to be much more than just a curio. It was written in the wake of Lucia di Lammermoor‘s triumph and represents the composer in full maturity eager to break new ground and empowered to do so boldly. The ferocious opening chords are like … [Read More]

Posted on 29/10/2012
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Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Elder, Royal Festival Hall

Such is Berlioz’ persuasive theatricality that even when he is rearranging Shakespeare one is inclined to ask not what the Bard is doing for him but rather what he is doing for the Bard. His unprecedented Symphonie Dramatique Roméo et Juliette doesn’t so much re-enact but reflect on the unfolding drama and the joy of … [Read More]

Posted on 19/02/2012
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Britten Sinfonia & Voices, Elder, Queen Elizabeth Hall

The onstage mingling of orchestra, soloists, and conductor prior to this seasonal performance of Berlioz’ L’enfance du Christ was presumably designed to lend a more intimate, informal tone to the start of the evening so that the music could “emerge”, as it were, without the usual formalities of bows and applause. And it might not … [Read More]

Posted on 09/12/2011
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Rimsky-Korsakov “The Tsar’s Bride”, Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera’s first ever staging of Rimsky-Korsakov’s rich and surprising opera The Tsar’s Bride sees history repeating itself in unsettling ways. The poster-coloured prelude has no sooner run its course – one of the composer’s most exhilarating lyric themes in uplifting reprise with sumptuous horns in bracing canon – when the curtain rises not … [Read More]

Posted on 15/04/2011
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Hallé Orchestra, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The connection between Verdi’s Overture to Luisa Miller and Mozart’s G major Piano Concerto No.17 may not immediately have been apparent but a few pages of both quickly pointed up operatic common ground. The curtain was duly raised on two very distinct and vivid dramas.

Mark Elder’s distinguished pedigree in Verdi ensured a stiff following … [Read More]

Posted on 26/02/2011
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Adriana sensitively exhumed

Kaufmann and Gheorghiu were not the only star attractions of this early and clearly expensive Christmas gift from the Royal Opera. Cilea’s Frenchified melodrama hasn’t been seen in the house since 1906 and the dusty wing space of Charles Edwards’ extraordinary set looked like it might actually have been excavated from the theatre as it … [Read More]

Posted on 19/11/2010
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