Tag Archives: John MacKenzie

Libuše, UCOpera, University College, UCL, Bloomsbury Theatre, March 2019

The wise Libuše, mythical founder of the Czech people, is the subject of this ‘festival’ opera that Smetana originally composed for the planned coronation of Austrian emperor Franz-Joseph as King of Bohemia in the early 1870s. That never happened, so he saved it for the opening of the National Theatre in Prague in 1881. Apart …

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Polyeucte, UC Opera, Theatre Royal, Stratford East, March 2018

Every year UCL produces a little known operatic gem and this time it was the turn of Gounod’s Polyeucte, not previously staged in the UK. The story, based on a play of the same name by the 17th century playwright Pierre Corneille, was the basis for Donizetti’s Poliuto, later turned into a French opera as …

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I Lombardi, University College Opera, Bloomsbury Theatre, March 2013

After UCOpera’s production of a Rameau work last year, which suffered from over-ambitious direction that didn’t gel, I was unsure what this year’s I Lombardi would be like. I need not have worried — it was terrific. Suits of armour and chain mail are expensive, so director Jamie Hayes has updated it to warring gangs …

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