Tag Archives: Peter Mumford

La Traviata, Glyndebourne, GFO, July 2014

A careful attention to musical detail renders this new, fairly minimalist production of Traviata by Tom Cairns extremely effective, helped enormously by the stunning performance of Venera Gimadieva as Violetta. Her softness and richness of tone reminded me of Ileana Cotrubas as she subtly brought Violetta’s multi-faceted character into play. In Act I after an introspective and …

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Madam Butterfly, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, October 2013

Puccini’s Madam Butterfly may not be my favourite opera, but this Anthony Minghella production is magical. The silent pulling of a rope to raise a screen before the start, and then the mime that pre-signifies the trapped Butterfly at the end, opens us to a world different from our own. In Act I the extraordinarily …

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Top Hat, Aldwych Theatre, London’s West End, May 2012

If you like a frothy musical with lots of dancing, and numbers like Cheek to Cheek by Irving Berlin, this is for you. It’s the early 1930s and an American dancer named Jerry Travers has come to London to star in a show produced by wealthy Horace Hardwick. A tap dance routine he performs in his hotel …

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Madam Butterfly, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, May 2012

Anthony Minghella died four years ago, but his wonderful English National Opera production of Madam Butterfly lives on. Created in 2005 it attracted huge acclaim and won the Olivier Award for best new opera production. Those who attend live relays from the Metropolitan Opera in New York may have seen it in the cinema in 2009, but it’s better in …

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The Damnation of Faust, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, May 2011

This is ostensibly a French opera sung in English, though it’s not really an opera but a légende dramatique by Hector Berlioz — a musical and vocal canvas on which a clever director can paint his own picture. And this is exactly what Terry Gilliam does by turning the whole thing into a history about the rise …

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Lucrezia Borgia, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2011

A mother’s anger leads unintentionally to the death of her adored illegitimate son. Shades of Verdi’s Rigoletto here, where a father’s anger leads to the death of his beloved daughter, but there are strong differences. Where Rigoletto is a physically ugly man with a hunchback, Lucrezia Borgia is a beautiful woman, now in her early forties. …

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An Ideal Husband, Vaudeville Theatre, London’s West End, November 2010

This witty and cleverly constructed play by Oscar Wilde was beautifully performed by the entire cast. So beautifully in fact that I never had a serious doubt it would all work out well in the end. Perhaps I should have done, because the charmingly dishonest Mrs. Cheveley, brilliantly played by Samantha Bond, exuded an air …

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Faust, English National Opera, ENO at the London Coliseum, September 2010

Overall some lovely singing from Toby Spence and Melody Moore, but I left feeling underwhelmed.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rose Theatre, Kingston-on-Thames, February 2010

The play was produced in about 1595, at a time when Shakespeare’s company, the Chamberlain’s Men, were regularly playing to Elizabeth’s court and it’s quite likely she saw it. In any event it was a masterstroke of Peter Hall to have Judi Dench play the part of Titania, and I found her entirely convincing.

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Bluebeard’s Castle, and Rite of Spring, ENO, London Coliseum, November 2009

Clive Bayley sang an autistic and threatening Bluebeard, with Michaela Martens as a powerful Judith.

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A View from the Bridge, Richmond Theatre, May 2009

Ken Stott was excellent as Eddie, well demonstrating his insecurity, his intensely narcissistic love for his niece Katie and growing disenchantment with his wife.

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Madama Butterfly, live relay, Metropolitan Opera, New York, March 2009

This production by the late Anthony Minghella — perhaps the best Butterfly I’ve ever seen … portrayed the child as a puppet, which worked extremely well …

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