Blog Archives

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

Elgar “The Dream of Gerontius”, Davis, Barbican

Some performances evolve so naturally, so inevitably, that they feel – bespoke. Andrew Davis has a long history with both the BBC Symphony Orchestra (who gave him his first big break) and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and from that moment in the Prelude where the cellos intimate some eternal lullaby to the ebbing arpeggios … [Read More]

Posted on 07/04/2014
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Posted in Classical Music, 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

Briefly… Peter Grimes, London Philharmonic, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

I think we can now say with absolute certainty that Stuart Skelton is the pre-eminent Peter Grimes of the present time. Just as Peter Pears originated the role for a whole generation and Jon Vickers redefined it and Philip Langridge made us re-think it, so Skelton has become Grimes, reconciling the bluff fisherman with the … [Read More]

Posted on 29/09/2013
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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

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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Wagner “The Flying Dutchman”, English National Opera

The front curtain at the London Coliseum is a rare sight these days and suggested that we might for once be about to experience Wagner’s celebrated Overture without “illustration”. With Edward Gardner and the ENO Orchestra identifying the perfect storm, with those sizzling open fifths in tremolo violins and heroic horns pitching us into its … [Read More]

Posted on 29/04/2012
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Posted in Reviews

Wagner “Parsifal”, English National Opera, London Coliseum

One of the great operatic images of the last two decades or so comes in the final act of Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s 1999 staging of Wagner’s last opera Parsifal. It is journey’s end for the fool made wise through pity and at the end of the line – quite literally here a disused railway track … [Read More]

Posted on 17/02/2011
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