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
Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
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
Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Opera, Reviews

Les Vepres Siciliennes, Royal Opera House (Review)

It started so thrillingly, director Stefan Herheim pulling off a theatrical coup which simultaneously fleshed out the opera’s back story whilst casting us body and soul into the gloriously opulent world of French opera-ballet. But as Verdi’s sprawling Parisian epic lost its dramatic impetus and sense of direction so Herheim and aspects of his staging … [Read More]

Posted on 18/10/2013
Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Opera, Reviews

Prom 72: Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Calleja, Zhang, Royal Albert Hall (Review)

Joseph Calleja performs at the BBC PromsIt was too little too late to redress the scant attention gives to Verdi’s bicentenary at this year’s Proms but the “Maltese Tenor” – Joseph Calleja – arrived with an eleventh hour offering of low-key Verdi arias and joining him was the Milanese orchestra bearing the composer’s name. Calleja’s growing legions of fans were much … [Read More]

Posted on 06/09/2013
Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Classical Music, 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
Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Asides

Verdi “Requiem”, Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus, Gatti, Royal Festival Hall

It was clear that there was an Italian on the podium. While muted strings invoked an atmosphere so crepuscular that that one involuntarily closed one’s eyes the murmur of voices intoning the words “Requiem aeternam” seemed to come from deep inside the cathedral. The theatricality of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem is inescapable but what was … [Read More]

Posted on 21/04/2013
Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Classical Music, 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
Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Opera, Reviews

Verdi “Otello”, Royal Opera House

It is the most resplendent of vocal fanfares that brings Otello to the stage in Verdi’s wonderful opera and Aleksandrs Antonenko – the latest in a most distinguished lineage (including Vickers and Domingo) to have strode into the tempest-tossed opening of Elijah Moshinsky’s ageless staging – at once raised the temperature in the house cleaving … [Read More]

Posted on 13/07/2012
Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Reviews

Verdi “Falstaff”, Royal Opera House

Where there’s Falstaff there’s food. And Robert Carsen’s new staging of Verdi’s final operatic masterpiece plays like an ode to gastronomical excess. It begins with a binge and ends with a banquet and even the scene of the fat knight’s ill-fated liaison with Alice Ford takes place in her spanking new kitchen: state of the … [Read More]

Posted on 16/05/2012
Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Reviews

Verdi “Rigoletto”, Royal Opera House

Distressed and decaying amidst crumbling masonry Michael Vale’s brutalist set tilts and turns towards catastrophe like some sort of post-modernist installation. The Court of Mantua is a world off its axis in David McVicar’s much-revived staging of Verdi’s Rigoletto and as this world fornicates its way to extinction it’s as if the roaring boys from … [Read More]

Posted on 31/03/2012
Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Reviews

Follow

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Back Stage