Tag Archives: Glyndebourne

Don Pasquale, Glyndebourne, GFO, July 2017

What a pleasure to see Mariam Clément’s 2013 Festival production revived. On its revolving stage, split into three rooms, we see the charming Dr. Malatesta of Moldovan baritone Andrey Zhilikhovsky flitting like a spirit at the start of the performance. Malatesta is the soul of this opera, a Figaro-like character whose deceptions are the essence …

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Hamlet, Glyndebourne, GFO, June 2017

Wow! As a friend remarked at the interval, during this hugely theatrical performance, “we were on the edge of our seats”. How did Australian composer Brett Dean and his librettist Matthew Jocelyn do it? Certainly Neil Armfield’s excellent direction, Jon Clark’s wonderful lighting, and the large set designs by Ralph Myers, which the performers themselves …

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Hipermestra, Glyndebourne, May 2017

Fifty brides for fifty brothers, each to be murdered by his wife on their wedding night, is a story that emerges from Greek mythology — a rich source of material for the first opera composers, including Monteverdi’s student Cavalli who composed this work. Hipermestra is based on the myth of Danaus (Danao) and his twin …

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Glyndebourne, GFO, August 2016

This was a treat. Peter Hall’s production with its moving trees and bushes and gently swaying branches shows the forces of nature creating the magic that is so well exemplified in Benjamin Britten’s music. John Bury’s designs and Paul Pyant’s lighting foster an atmosphere where the desires of the lovers and the temerity of the …

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Béatrice et Bénédict, Glyndebourne, GFO, August 2016

In his last opera Berlioz extracts a single thread from Much Ado About Nothing by his beloved Shakespeare. Composed to a libretto he fashioned from the play the score’s wit and inventiveness delight the ear, but it is more a series of tableaux than a fully formed whole, and the question is how to stage …

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Il barbiere di Siviglia, Glyndebourne, GFO, May 2016

The cast for Glyndebourne’s new Barber — its first performance of this opera for over thirty years — exuded huge zest and youthful energy, encouraged by the infectious enthusiasm of conductor Enrique Mazzola, who brought Rossini’s score vividly to life. This was a team whose rapid-fire musicality drew cheers from the audience, with the inimitable …

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Saul, Glyndebourne, GFO, July 2015

When Handel first produced this oratorio in 1738 the audience would have been completely au fait with the Biblical story of Saul, the king of a people previously presided over by judges and prophets such as Samuel, who anointed him as their first king. He also anointed David as his successor, but in the oratorio …

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Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Glyndebourne, GFO, June 2015

For a summer evening in a relatively intimate theatre this Mozart Singspiel, making its 197th performance at Glyndebourne, is perfect. Yet the production by David McVicar is entirely new. Sensitive and stylish, with excellent designs by Vicki Mortimer, beautifully lit by Paule Constable, it brings out the strong points and charming absurdities of this engaging …

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Poliuto, Glyndebourne, GFO, May 2015

Composed for Naples in 1838, but banned because of the subject matter, it took another ten years before a production of the original was mounted in Italy, just a few months after Donizetti’s death. In the meantime Paris had taken it on as a grand opera under the title Les Martyrs, with a new text …

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Der Rosenkavalier, BBC Proms, Albert Hall, RAH, July 2014

After all that kerfuffle about Octavian at the opening night of Glyndebourne’s new Rosenkavalier it was a pleasure to see this concert performance and confirm two things. Glyndebourne was absolutely right to choose Tara Erraught for the role, and while I blamed director Richard Jones for the ill-fitting clothing on opening night (see my review) …

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La Traviata, Glyndebourne, GFO, July 2014

A careful attention to musical detail renders this new, fairly minimalist production of Traviata by Tom Cairns extremely effective, helped enormously by the stunning performance of Venera Gimadieva as Violetta. Her softness and richness of tone reminded me of Ileana Cotrubas as she subtly brought Violetta’s multi-faceted character into play. In Act I after an introspective and …

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La Finta Giardiniera, Glyndebourne, June 2014

Pretending is what Finta is all about — the title itself means The Pretend Gardener — but too much pretence can make you can lose your way, which is exactly what happens here. The separated lovers, Sandrina (aka La Marchesa Violante Onesti) and Count Belfiore have to find themselves and one another before they can …

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Eugene Onegin, Glyndebourne, May 2014

A revival of Graham Vick’s successful Onegin production opened the second night of the Glyndebourne season, with the London Philharmonic under the very capable baton of Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber playing with energy and passion. In the first two acts the Lensky of Edgaras Montvidas stole the show. Partly trained in the Royal Opera’s …

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Der Rosenkavalier, Glyndebourne, May 2014

Glyndebourne’s 80th anniversary festival, dedicated to the late Sir George Christie, son of the founder and the man who built the present opera house, opened just ten days after his death. His son Gus came onstage at the start to offer a tribute to his ‘dear old Dad’, and in honour of the 150th anniversary …

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Billy Budd, Glyndebourne, August 2013

A brilliant evening at the opera requires three things: a first rate opera, an illuminating production, and marvellous singing. Here we had all three. Billy Budd, shown here in its two-act version, rather than the four-act original, is a stunning piece of theatre. The three main characters, Captain Vere, Billy, and Claggart, all embody in …

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Don Pasquale, Glyndebourne, July 2013

Ultimately based on Ben Jonson’s play The Silent Woman, the main character is an elderly bachelor who suddenly takes it into his head to find a young wife and raise a family. This is partly to disinherit his nephew, Ernesto, who refuses to marry the woman chosen for him, and the solution to this problem …

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Hippolyte et Aricie, Glyndebourne, July 2013

This is the third Rameau opera I have seen in as many years, and I understand the problem. Rameau’s delightful music — played here on original instruments by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the excellent baton of William Christie — is full of wonderful dance rhythms. The question is what to do …

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Ariadne auf Naxos, Glyndebourne, May 2013

The house of the richest man in Vienna, where Strauss and Hofmannsthal set the action, transfers seamlessly to an English country house in Act I with delightful set designs by Julia Müer. Wonderful lighting by Olaf Winter showed the gradual ending of a lovely summer’s day outside as preparations for the evening’s entertainment were underway, …

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Ravel Double Bill, Glyndebourne, August 2012

This wonderful pairing of two Ravel operas is a must-see, with L’heure espagnole showing the erotic machinations of a clockmaker’s wife, and L’enfant et les sortilèges the fearful consequences felt by a child who breaks the regular structure of his life. For anyone who has seen the elegant minimalism of Covent Garden’s L’heure espagnole, Glyndebourne’s Laurent Pelly production — based …

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Le Nozze di Figaro, Glyndebourne, June 2012

If you demand this opera in eighteenth century costume — and I overheard some in the audience who did — then forget it. But if you are happy to see a more up to date interpretation, then this is a winner. It’s the 1960s and Almaviva is one of the nouveau riche, possibly a pop star, …

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The Turn of the Screw, Glyndebourne, August 2011

The clarity of this production, and this performance, was exceptional. From the first words of the Prologue to the last words of the drama when the Governess asks the limp body of Miles, “What have we done between us?”, the whole story was laid bare. The scene with the governess travelling by train to the big …

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Rinaldo, Glyndebourne, July 2011

The Siege of Jerusalem in 1099 is represented here by public schoolboys versus St. Trinian’s. Hockey sticks against lacrosse sticks. Super fun, and a rather good background for all the youthful amour and magical manipulations that form the heart of this Handel opera. The main feature of the story is that Rinaldo is in love …

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Glyndebourne, May 2011

This new production of Meistersinger by David McVicar elicited thunderous applause at the end. And what an end it was, with Hans Sachs’s monologue being given its full force in a way I’ve not seen before. When Walther refuses the award of Mastership from Pogner, Gerald Finley as Sachs draws him aside to stage right, and his …

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Don Giovanni, Glyndebourne, July 2010

Gerald Finley is the perfect Don, suave and brutal … both he and Luca Pisaroni as Leporello performed with an insouciance that gave the impression either one would happily shop the other if push came to shove.

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Billy Budd, Glyndebourne, May 2010

The music — and this is wonderfully powerful music by Britten — was brilliantly played by the London Philharmonic under the baton of Mark Elder.

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Rusalka, Glyndebourne, August 2009

…this was a revelation, and I congratulate Glyndebourne for putting it on.

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Tristan und Isolde, Glyndebourne, August 2009

This was Glyndebourne’s 2003 production by Nikolaus Lehnhoff,…[and] it works terrifically well, with a set by Roland Aeschlimann featuring a broken vortex of huge curved girders.

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Glyndebourne 75th Anniversary Concert, Glyndebourne, June 2009

It also featured others with a strong Glyndebourne connection, such as Gerald Finley, Sarah Connolly, Emma Bell, and Kate Royal, who were all in the Glyndebourne chorus at one time, along with such luminaries as Thomas Allen, Sergei Leiferkus, Felicity Lott, and Anne Sofie von Otter.

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