Tag Archives: Mark Jonathan

La Cenerentola, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2016

Rossini’s delightful Cenerentola is just the thing for Opera Holland Park, particularly in this charming a witty Oliver Platt production brought to life by a fine cast. The splendid designs by Neil Irish contrast the black, white and silver of the courtiers in the ball scene, with the garish colours of the ugly sisters and …

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Iris, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2016

Opera Holland Park staged Mascagni’s little-known Iris during their second season in 1997, but this production by Olivia Fuchs is entirely new. The opera itself premiered in 1898, eight years after Cavalleria Rusicana, and Mascagni’s librettist for this new work suggested a tragedy set in Japan, in keeping with a vogue for exotic subjects. The …

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Turn of the Screw, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2014

All performances start at 8 o’clock, and for good reason. The month is July and Act II emerges as the outside light gradually dims. In early Act I with daylight outside, Miles goes to a large blackboard on one side of the stage and draws the outline of what looks like a door. In the darker …

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Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2014

Rossini’s Barber is always fun, and Oliver Platt’s new production for Opera Holland Park gives it a nineteenth century London touch, complete with lamplighters, Bow Street Runners and a drunken sot who claims his shilling as if he were one of the street musicians. The designs by Neil Irish work very well in this context and I …

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Cavalleria Rusticana, and I Pagliacci, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2013

After an unusually long winter, walking across Holland Park for the opening of the OHP season it seemed that summer had really arrived. As the orchestra played the Prelude to Cavalleria Rusticana the set opened to reveal Turiddu in bed with Lola, and after the chorus entered to sing of orange blossom, over a dozen …

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Aladdin, Birmingham Royal Ballet, BRB, London Coliseum, March 2013

While Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland plays at Covent Garden, the Birmingham Royal Ballet brings David Bintley’s new Aladdin to the London Coliseum. The former is sold out, and the latter deserves to be too, because both are equally great fun though entirely different. Aladdin is a ripping yarn based on those Tales of the Arabian …

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Lulu, Welsh National Opera, Cardiff, February 2013

Alban Berg’s Lulu, mostly written in 1934, was only performed in a complete version for the first time in 1979. Berg died in 1935, and after his widow could not get Schoenberg, nor Webern or Zemlinsky, to write an orchestration of Act III she refused any attempt at completion, and so it remained until she died …

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Yevgeny Onegin, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2012

This production by Daniel Slater updates the action by nearly 100 years to a time we all understand, making it clear that Onegin is living in the past. Such was arguably Pushkin’s intent in setting his novel in the period 1819–25 when reforms were very much in the air, and later crushed. Here we are …

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Ballo della Regina, with Nuñez and Kish/ La Sylphide, with Cojocaru and McRae, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, May 2012

Ballo Della Regina (The Queen’s Ball) is a short Balanchine work set to music that was cut from Verdi’s opera Don Carlo. This ballet involves a sequence of variations, first with twelve girls in blue, joined by two principals in white. After a pas-de-deux for the principals, four soloists in violet come on one at a time, and …

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Daphnis and Chloë/ The Two Pigeons, Birmingham Royal Ballet, BRB, London Coliseum, March 2012

Essential for first rate ballet are music and choreography, and this double bill provides them in spades, along with some very fine dancing. Both ballets involve young lovers splitting apart, yet reunited at the end, and both are choreographed by one of the great masters of the twentieth century, Frederick Ashton. His creations were entirely new, the …

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L’amico Fritz, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2011

This is Mascagni’s second opera after his great success with Cavalleria Rusticana, and Stuart Stratford’s conducting of the City of London Sinfonia brought out its high moments most beautifully.

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Don Pasquale, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2011

Don Pasquale is Donizetti’s sixty-fourth opera, and one of his most successful. The title character is a wealthy but crotchety older man who disapproves of the marital choice of his nephew Ernesto. This young man wants to marry the high-spirited, youthful widow, Norina, so Pasquale has decided to take a young wife for himself, and disinherit …

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Cinderella, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, November 2010

One of the lovely things about Ashton’s Cinderella is the intermingling of the real world with the magical world.

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La Forza del Destino, Holland Park Opera, OHP, August 2010

I’ve always found [this] terrific stuff, and was delighted with the excellent musical direction by Stuart Stratford, whom I remember doing an equally fine job at Holland Park last summer with Katya Kabanova.

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Francesca da Rimini, Holland Park Opera, August 2010

Zandonai was a very talented composer, whom Puccini favoured for completing Turandot, though his son Tonio vetoed the choice and it went to Alfano. In this opera there is no release from the tension in the music, so what ought to be wonderful moments are lost in the overall fabric, and there is no clear focus.

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Sleeping Beauty, Birmingham Royal Ballet, BRB, London Coliseum, April 2010

This production has some wonderful moments, and I particularly liked the way Carabosse reappears in Act I as a shrouded old woman, apparently willing to be arrested after giving Aurora the spindle, yet suddenly throwing off her disguise and creating havoc.

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Cinderella, Royal Ballet, 17 April 2010

Yuhui Choe danced Cinderella with exceptional charm and refinement. Her elegant footwork and sympathetic body language marks her out as an exceptional future performer of this role.

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