Tag Archives: James Creswell

Don Giovanni, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, October 2016

The Don is dead. Long live the Don. Such is the message of this new ENO production by Richard Jones where the Don personifies a force of nature on which women can hang their fantasies. It all starts during the overture where we see Giovanni taking innumerable women through a door guarded by Leporello, and …

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Norma, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2016

Of all operas in the first half of the nineteenth century, Bellini’s Norma was one of the greatest, widely admired by composers and having a profound effect on Wagner. Yet the ENO has never before put it on stage, for one simple reason. It requires an extraordinary soprano who can combine enormous power with vocal …

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The Magic Flute, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2016.

English National Opera’s outreach to a younger and wider audience is well served by Simon McBurney’s (Complicite Theatre) production, first shown in 2013. Purists may object to the numerous theatrical innovations, but on the other hand this opera was originally conceived as a Singspiel, in other words a play with music, and its librettist Emanuel …

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The Force of Destiny, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, November 2015

The unusually abstract title of this mature yet seldom-performed Verdi opera could be rephrased as ‘the force of anger’. The Marquis of Calatrava’s ferocity at his daughter Leonora’s choice of husband leads to his accidental death, and his son Don Carlo’s furiously determined revenge leads to his own death and that of his sister. “Vengeance …

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The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2015

Although one of the greatest operas ever written, it is not unknown for directors and conductors to make a mess of it, even at Wagner’s own temple in Bayreuth, but not at the ENO, thank God! This resounding success throws down the gauntlet to those Beckmessers in the Arts Council who not only mark down …

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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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Fidelio, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, September 2013

Fidelio is far from my favourite opera, so for me the novelty of this new staging was a welcome departure from the usual dreary prison. Catalan director Calixto Bieito has instead placed the events in a modern setting of steel and glass, the prisoners being so-to-speak trapped in offices where they spend most of their …

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The Flying Dutchman, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, April 2012

Sudden darkness in the auditorium … the orchestra struck up, and we were treated to great power and sensitivity from the baton of Edward Gardner. The silences were silent, the quiet passages quiet, and the loud passages with the chorus came over with huge force. This new production by Jonathan Kent starts in the overture with a …

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