Tag Archives: John Macfarlane

Frankenstein, Royal Ballet, ROH, Covent Garden, May 2016

Liam Scarlett’s interest in German myth and murderous intrigue, already apparent in his ballets Hansel and Gretel and Sweet Violets, now finds its full flowering in Mary Shelley’s 1818 story of Victor Frankenstein. This meditation on loss, the yearning for love, and fear of the outsider shows the folly of taking on oneself the gods’ …

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Maria Stuarda, Metropolitan Opera live cinema relay, January 2013

Finally the Met have staged Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, an 1835 opera based on the play by Schiller written in 1800, where Mary Queen of Scots meets Elizabeth I of England. The meeting never took place, but the play makes for super drama, and the opera provides for some wonderful singing, with the two queens backed up and egged …

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Royal Ballet Triple: Polyphonia/ Sweet Violets/ Carbon Life, Covent Garden, April 2012

This was an entirely twenty-first century triple bill. The first work, Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, set to ten piano pieces by Ligeti, was first shown in New York at the start of the century, January 2001. The large Covent Garden stage gave space to the spare minimalism of Wheeldon’s choreography, with darkness sometimes surrounding a spot for the dancers. …

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Peter Grimes, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, June 2011

This production brings out the horrid awkwardness of Grimes’s estrangement from the local community, eliciting our sympathy for him …

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Cinderella, Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB), London Coliseum, March 2011

… the nasty stepmother [was] brilliantly portrayed by Marion Tait. Her ball dress was stunning, and when the prince brings the slipper to the house she follows her awful daughters in trying it on . . . before Cinderella herself comes forward.

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Preview — Cinderella, Birmingham Royal Ballet, London Coliseum, March 2011

Following its world premiere in Birmingham last November, and Christmas Day BBC Television debut, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s new production of Cinderella comes to London for the first time. Choreography is by the wonderful David Bintley, with designs by John Macfarlane whose brilliant work on the Magic Flute was recently seen at the Royal Opera House. To …

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Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, February 2011

When the curtain opens a huge serpent appears on stage, which Christopher Maltman, as a very engaging Papageno, later claims to have killed. His body language confirms that the ladies of the night are right to gag him for his lies, and his attitudes provide an excellent contrast to the noble Tamino, beautifully sung by Joseph Kaiser.

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Royal Ballet Triple: Electric Counterpoint, Asphodel Meadows, Carmen, Covent Garden, May 2010

Asphodel Meadows is a very interesting new ballet by Liam Scarlett, to Poulenc’s Concerto in D minor for two pianos and orchestra.

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