Tag Archives: Nicholas Lester

The Merry Widow, English National Opera, London Coliseum, March 2019

The opening night of this new production lacked the snap, crackle and pop of Lehár’s music. Yet when the conductor left the orchestra pit to join in the curtain calls, the orchestra continued under a more energetic conductor, and the music suddenly showed the pizzazz it had lacked earlier. On the other hand, Max Webster’s production …

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La Bohème, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, November 2018

Thank goodness for this fourth revival of Jonathan Miller’s staging, replacing the ill-advised new production of 2015 where the ‘Bohemians’ were druggies shooting up on a brightly lit stage. Isabella Bywater’s excellent sets and Jean Kalman’s dark lighting recall a time when life hung by a more slender thread, candles lit up intimate surroundings, and …

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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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Barber of Seville, Welsh National Opera, WNO, Cardiff, February 2016

This is the first of a trio of operas — along with The Marriage of Figaro, and a new opera called Figaro’s Divorce — from Welsh National Opera for Spring 2016, all co-productions with the Grand Théâtre de Genève, where they will appear later. Continuity between the three is provided by the design team, which …

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Lakmé, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2015

This Delibes opera about the days of the Raj, when a British officer falls in love with the daughter of a Brahmin priest, expresses a late nineteenth and early twentieth century fascination with exotic locales — think Pearl Fishers and Madama Butterfly — and like Butterfly is based on a work by French novelist and …

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The Jacobin, Buxton Opera Festival, July 2014

The Jacobins were the hard-core French revolutionaries who inspired the Reign of Terror, and in this Dvořak opera the Count has been persuaded that his son Bohuš has become a Jacobin. Correcting this calumny and persuading the Count he has been misled appears to recede into the distance towards the end … yet suddenly the …

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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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Eugene Onegin, English Touring Opera, ETO, Hackney Empire, March 2012

Having seen Onegin performed on a large stage by major opera companies, with glamorous ball scenes and spacious settings for the Larin country estate, I approached this smaller stage production with some trepidation. But it was a revelation. The simple sets provide the perfect atmosphere, and the performance gives a wonderful insight into Tchaikovsky’s representation of Pushkin’s drama. The solo …

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