Tag Archives: Richard Burkhard

Queen of Spades, Opera Holland Park, OHP, August 2016

This Tchaikovsky opera contrasts psychological darkness with airy gaiety that comes out very effectively in Rodula Gaitanou’s production. Excellent chorus direction and Jamie Neale’s choreography creates a sense of fun and spontaneity in lighter moments, and the wonderful sets and costumes by Cordelia Chisholm deliver a sumptuous setting for this tale of obsession that descends …

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Il Trittico, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2015

A terrific evening and superb start to Opera Holland Park’s 2015 season. Neil Irish’s designs were excellent, particularly for Il Tabarro in Martin Lloyd-Evans production where weary stevedores and noises of the quayside set the evening in motion. As captain of the barge, Stephen Gadd’s calm tension and eventual exasperation, as he pleads with his …

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Adriana Lecouvreur, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2014

When an opera detractor points to a high quality of music being unmatched by the libretto they can hardly have a better example than Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. Conducted with verve and sympathy by Manlio Benzi this fin-de-siècle outpouring of dramatic harmony makes for a wonderful evening, but the impenetrable story about love, jealousy, dissimulation, political …

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Rodelinda, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, March 2014

First performed in 1725 this Handel opera, set in seventh century Milan, boasted the famous castrato Senesino as Berterido, husband of Rodelinda. He has lost his throne, is now presumed dead, and his position has been usurped by Grimoaldo, who has fallen in love with Rodelinda, despite being betrothed to Berterido’s sister Eduige. Tastes have …

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The Death of Klinghoffer, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2012

This opera has sparked controversy at its first staging in London. Why? The essential story is that in 1985 an Italian cruise ship at dock in Alexandria was hijacked by four Palestinian terrorists, who seem to have had a confused idea about freeing prisoners in Israeli jails. Many of the people on the cruise were away …

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Ruddigore, Opera North, Barbican, November 2011

W. S. Gilbert, the librettist for this work, was a master of wit, not just on paper but spontaneously in conversation. When a neighbour referred admiringly to Ruddigore calling it Bloodygore, Gilbert objected, so the neighbour said: “Same thing isn’t it?” WSG was swift as a rapier, “If I admire your ruddy countenance, it doesn’t mean I …

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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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