Tag Archives: Ben Johnson

Giovanna d’Arco, Buxton Festival, July 2015

This Verdi opera, like Rossini’s William Tell, is originally based on a play by Schiller that deals with a central heroic figure who rallies people and fighting men against an occupying force. Comparing mature Rossini to early Verdi one might expect the Rossini to win easily, yet by contrast with the Royal Opera’s current clunky …

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La Traviata, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2015

hooAt the start of this production there is nothing on stage but a plain chair, and in the final scene, isolated from Annina, Dr. Grenvil, Germont, and even Alfredo, who leaves the stage to join the others in the auditorium, Violetta sits on it, alone. Finally she recedes into darkness beyond the back of the …

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Magic Flute, English National Opera, London Coliseum, November 2013

A new production of Mozart’s Magic Flute should be judged largely by how well it illuminates this extraordinary story. But that aside, Simon McBurney’s production is full of theatrical innovations. On stage right there is a small booth for a production assistant to write on a chalk-board, and arrange books in a way that is …

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La Traviata, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2013

Four scenes with no intermission and no sets, except for multiple curtains and a chair — but it works! This is Traviata cut to its essentials, concentrating on Violetta, and to a lesser extent Germont père. Corinne Winters was a phenomenal Violetta, and as the opera ends she stands alone on stage facing Germont, Alfredo and Annina in the auditorium. …

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Don Giovanni, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, October 2012

The revival of this production by Rufus Norris has a cast very similar to its opening run in 2010 and works rather well this time. Paul Anderson’s excellent lighting helps create a sense of dark forces at work, and is particularly effective in Act II for the scene featuring Donna Elvira, and again towards the end …

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The Elixir of Love, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, September 2011

A revival of Jonathan Miller’s production of Elixir, set in a diner in small town America, is an excellent way to start the new season. Miller’s production first appeared in early 2010, and the two stars of those performances returned to give us their best: Sarah Tynan as the saucy, sassy Adina, and Andrew Shore as …

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