Tag Archives: Mozart

Lucio Silla, Buxton Festival, BIF, July 2017

In true eighteenth century operatic fashion this presents a conflict between power and love, embodied in Lucio Silla (Lucius Cornelius Sulla) a Roman Consul and dictator during the early first century BC. The plot centres on the faithful love between Giunia and Cecilio, despite Silla’s attempts to win Giunia for himself. Lucio Cinna (Lucius Cornelius …

Read more >


Mitridate, re di Ponto, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, June 2017

If beautiful singing and eighteenth century stage spectacle appeals, then Graham Vick’s production of this early Mozart opera, in Paul Brown’s bold designs and gloriously elaborate costumes, certainly hits the spot. The title character, Mithridates VI reigned as king of Pontus, a region comprising much of northern Anatolia and coastal areas of the Black Sea, …

Read more >


Così fan tutte, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, September 2016

This replacement for Jonathan Miller’s gloriously effective production of Così was a disappointment. The new director Jan Philipp Gloger, whose outré Flying Dutchman I saw at Bayreuth four years ago, was trying too hard to be clever, with a potpourri of ideas centred on the juxtaposition of life and theatre. This started during the overture …

Read more >


Don Giovanni, English Touring Opera, ETO, Hackney Empire, March 2016

This intriguing new production sets the action in the underground world of Vienna during the early 1900s, and a junction of two tunnels at the rear of the stage later becomes the memorial to the Commendatore. His dramatic appearance in ghostly silhouette towards the end well suits this subterranean world. Though slightly different from the …

Read more >


Marriage of Figaro, Welsh National Opera, WNO, Cardiff, February 2016

This second part of WNO’s Figaro triptych uses the same excellent design team of Ralph Koltai (sets), Sue Blane (costumes) and Linus Fellbom (lighting) as the Barber of Seville, with designs again featuring two huge walls. In this case they move apart to allow entrances, exits and a hint of deception between master and servant, …

Read more >


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 …

Read more >


Abduction from the Seraglio, BBC Proms, Prom 38, Albert Hall, RAH, 14 August 2015

When the performance began I wondered whether Glyndebourne had made the right decision in bringing Seraglio to the Proms, as opposed to one of their other new productions such as Donizetti’s Poliuto or Handel’s Saul, which would have sounded well in the Albert Hall. Mozart’s Seraglio, performed in Glyndebourne under its original title Die Entführung …

Read more >


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 …

Read more >


Idomeneo, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, November 2014

The story of a man who promises to sacrifice the first person he meets on his safe return home, if only the god will rescue him, was imported to Greece from the Ancient Near East. It appears for instance in the Biblical story of Jephthah who made such a vow in order to defeat the …

Read more >


The Marriage of Figaro, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, October 2014

The revival of this ENO production had its first night on the 221st anniversary of the death of Marie-Antoinette, the first queen to perform in the original play by Beaumarchais. This was at her private house in Versailles, and the king then banned public performances, until in 1784 it opened at the Comédie Française in …

Read more >


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 …

Read more >


Le Nozze di Figaro, with Esposito, Evans, Finley, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, May 2014

In this latest revival of David McVicar’s 2006 production, Gerald Finley’s beautifully nuanced and stylish performance of the Count was a joy to behold. Full of restrained power, his premonition of success with Susanna expressed by the recitative and aria early in Act III showed a man in huge command of his household, only of …

Read more >


Don Giovanni, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, February 2014

After his controversial Eugene Onegin in February last year, Kasper Holten has come out with a corker. This intriguing new production ends with Giovanni, a man defined by his conquests and interactions with others, condemned to the hell of being alone. The set went slowly blank as the writing on the walls disappeared, the auditorium …

Read more >


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 …

Read more >


Die Zauberflöte, with Keenlyside, Staples, Bevan, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, May 2013

A new set of principals for Zauberflöte in May saw Simon Keenlyside as Papageno, Andrew Staples as Tamino, Sophie Bevan as Pamina, and Matthew Rose as Sarastro. Albina Shagimuratova, who also sang in April, was a gloriously lyrical and luminescent Queen of the Night, showing a welcome vulnerability in Act I. Combining a melodious voice …

Read more >


Ecstasy and Death, English National Ballet, ENB, London Coliseum, April 2013

This intriguing triple bill is the first programme artistic director Tamara Rojo has put together for the Company, and she even dances in it herself. The second item Le Jeune Homme et la Mort is worth the whole programme, and on the first night Rojo was the coolly callous young woman, with Nicolas le Riche, …

Read more >


Così fan tutte, English Touring Opera, Hackney Empire, March 2013

If this were Shakespeare we might find our performers to be spirits melted into thin, thin air, for we know nothing about them. They are ciphers on which Mozart and his librettist Da Ponte created a piece of theatre at once frivolous and profound, expressing a joy, playfulness and inanity inherent to life itself. The …

Read more >


Don Giovanni, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, October 2012

The revival of this production by Rufus Norris has a cast very similar to its opening run in 2010 and works rather well this time. Paul Anderson’s excellent lighting helps create a sense of dark forces at work, and is particularly effective in Act II for the scene featuring Donna Elvira, and again towards the end …

Read more >


Le Nozze di Figaro, Glyndebourne Tour, October 2012

This Michael Grandage production, new in summer 2012, is now on tour with a delightful young cast. Its staging gives a 1960s take on Mozart’s opera, with the Count and Countess as European nouveau riche living in a house boasting Moorish designs by Christopher Oram and lovely flowing robes for the countess, all exquisitely lit …

Read more >


Magic Flute, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, September 2012

This powerful and illuminating production by Nicholas Hytner may be seeing its last outing after twenty-five years in the repertoire, so don’t miss this ‘final’ revival. The new cast, with young conductor Nicholas Collon making his ENO debut, did a super job. For me the star of the show was Duncan Rock, who recently made …

Read more >


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, …

Read more >


Così fan tutte, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2012

This was a second hit for Opera Holland Park this season — a great team performance bringing Così fan tutte fully to life. Fine eighteenth century designs by Alex Eales, plus a cheerful sunny set in the centre of the stage, were accompanied by the chorus as an on-stage audience, and bright lighting design by Colin Grenfell that showed …

Read more >


Don Giovanni with Erwin Schrott, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, February 2012

Erwin Schrott was a remarkable Don, good looking, devilishly charming, but with a nasty streak hidden by an insouciant devil-may-care attitude. And his singing was equally remarkable, with an easy casualness as if he were simply talking. As his counterpoint and servant, Alex Esposito as Leporello sang and acted the part with utter conviction. His Madamina aria, where he recounts to …

Read more >


Don Giovanni, Metropolitan Opera live relay from New York, October 2011

For Don Giovanni lovers it doesn’t get much better than this. The Met’s new music director Fabio Luisi gave a sparkling account of the overture, and the performance never looked back. Mariusz Kwiecien combined noble aplomb with demi-world charm as the Don, and Luca Pisaroni was the perfect foil as his sidekick Leporello. Their early dialogue was …

Read more >


The Marriage of Figaro, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, October 2011

Roland Wood acted the part as if he were Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey with a wonderful singing voice and hormones running riot, even tearing a doll to pieces in Act III. Forget the TV series — go to the opera.

Read more >


Don Giovanni, Soho Theatre, August/ September 2011

After the presence has left, Johnny sees his life flash past him, and rushes out through the door. At the end we see an image of a man hanging by a rope — Johnny’s final experience, his own death.

Read more >


Le Nozze di Figaro, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2011

There were chainé turns as servants enter and exit the stage, along with the occasional pas-de-deux, all very well rehearsed and executed. The Crazy Day is the other title for Beaumarchais’ original play, and this production by Liam Steel, who also did the choreography, certainly gave full rein to the craziness.

Read more >


A Magic Flute, C.I.C.T./Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, at the Barbican, March 2011

Essentially this is a pared down version of Mozart, played on the piano, with singers who would not hold their own with an orchestra, and sometimes had difficulty filling the Barbican concert hall.

Read more >


La Clemenza di Tito, English Touring Opera, ETO, Hackney Empire, London, March 2011

Redemption for all guilty parties has to wait for the second and final act, which shows in stark detail the magnanimity of Titus.

Read more >


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.

Read more >


Don Giovanni, English National Opera, ENO at the London Coliseum, November 2010

This production by Rufus Norris with sets by Ian MacNeil had some nice aspects … but the plethora of good ideas was all a bit too much for me.

Read more >


Cosi fan tutte, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, September 2010

A theologian friend of mine tells me that when the angels perform for the new arrivals in heaven they play Bach, but en famille with God they play Mozart.

Read more >


The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Opera Australia, Sydney Opera House, July 2010

Teddy Tahu Rhodes was particularly good as a strongly voiced yet surprisingly vulnerable Figaro. So often this character comes over as all too knowing, never seriously fearing for the loss of Susanna’s love, but here …

Read more >


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.

Read more >


Don Giovanni, Holland Park Opera, July 2010

This production by Stephen Barlow gives a clear and convincing take on the story … and Robert Dean did a very fine job conducting the City of London Sinfonia.

Read more >


Idomeneo, English National Opera, ENO at the London Coliseum, June 2010

… The music is wonderfully expressive of the conflicting emotions, and was superbly conducted by Edward Gardner …

Read more >


Le Nozze di Figaro, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, May 2010

it’s the performance that really counts, and we were lucky to have two superb men: Erwin Schrott as Figaro, and Mariusz Kwiecien as the Count. Along with Eri Nakamura as Susanna, their flawless singing and acting was an absolute delight.

Read more >


Magic Flute, English National Opera, January 2009

The star of the show was Roderick Williams as a wonderfully engaging Papageno in superb voice.

Read more >