Tag Archives: Rossini

Semiramide, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, November 2017

For a Rossini work not staged by the Royal Opera in over 150 years this revival may seem a brave move, but Antonio Pappano in the orchestra pit and the superb cast of singers made it a musical treat. Even better than the excellent BBC Proms concert performance of 2016, which featured two of the …

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Barber of Seville, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, Oct 2017

This truly wonderful production by Jonathan Miller, now in its thirteenth revival, is a star in the ENO firmament, and a friend seeing it for the first time was bowled over by the costumes, sets and lighting. Under revival director Peter Relton, whose Tosca launched the new Grange Park opera this past summer, it looks …

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Mosè in Egitto, Bregenzer Festspiele, July 2017

This 1818 Rossini opera about the Hebrew Exodus involves a love affair between the Pharaoh’s son Osiride and a Hebrew girl called Elcia. Moses’ attempts to lead his people out of captivity are opposed by Osiride, who is unwilling to lose Elcia, and after numerous emotional conflicts the opera ends with the crossing of the …

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Semiramide, BBC Proms, Prom 68, Royal Albert Hall, 4 September 2016

Based on a drama by Voltaire, this Rossini opera centres round the legendary if fictional Queen Semiramide (Semiramis) of Babylon, a source of endless fascination for Classical and Renaissance authors, who based their fables on Persian sources. The legend is derived from at least two Assyrian queens: Sammuramat (the origin of the name) in the …

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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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Guillaume Tell, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, June 2015

After the superb Proms concert performance of this opera four years ago, under Pappano with some of the same cast, this keenly anticipated new production fell sadly short. A black-clad SWAT team with machine guns, lighting from stage rear that glares out at the audience, on-stage characters not in the drama — seen it all before. …

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Il Turco in Italia, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, April 2015

Huge fun — and springtime is just the right time to revive this stylish and colourfully stylized production by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier. Its previous outing in 2010 was also in Spring, the four main principals being the same as today: Thomas Allen as poet and opera librettist Prosdocimo, Alessandro Corbelli as the cuckolded …

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La scala di seta, Royal Opera Young Artists, ROH Linbury Studio, October 2014

First produced in Venice when Rossini was just 20, this comic farce is a little gem. Its quality is sometimes called into question by a story that the impresario who commissioned it served the young composer with a poor libretto by Giuseppe Maria Foppa to which Rossini responded with slapdash music. Whatever the truth of …

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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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La Donna del Lago, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, May 2013

Two tenors love the same soprano — Elena, the Lady of the Lake — but she ends up with her beloved mezzo, Malcolm. The tenors, Uberto, really King James V of Scotland, and Highland Chieftain Rodrigo, are politically and militarily opposed, and though Elena’s father Duglas insists she marry Rodrigo, he is conveniently killed and …

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Il Viaggio a Reims, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, July 2012

This anniversary gala concert united Jette Parker Young Artists with several earlier performers from that programme who have since gone on to international careers, and Il Viaggio a Reims (The Journey to Rheims) was the perfect piece to bring them together. Written by Rossini to celebrate the coronation of Charles X in 1825, it all takes place at a spa hotel, where …

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The Barber of Seville, English Touring Opera, ETO, Hackney Empire, March 2012

Clever designs and glorious costumes by Rhys Jarman give a fine dramatic underpinning for this production of Rossini’s Barber, and Grant Doyle made a marvellous entrance as the barber, Figaro. This was the first night, and after a nervous start things came together in Act II. Kitty Whately made a beautifully inspiring Rosina, mistress of the situation despite the machinations …

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William Tell, in concert, Prom 2, Royal Albert Hall, July 2011

This opera is Rossini’s last, fulfilling a commission for a grand opera made five years earlier when he took up residence in Paris. The press had been buzzing with information on its progress, and in his book on Rossini, Francis Toye tells us that “On August 3rd, 1829, it was finally produced before an audience …

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Le Comte Ory, Metropolitan Opera, live cinema relay, April 2011

This uniquely Rossinian opera — his penultimate — is wonderful fun, and I’m delighted the Met has put it on, and done so in a cinema screening for the whole world to share. It’s not often performed because it needs three superb singers — in the roles of Count Ory, his page Isolier, and the …

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Armida, Metropolitan Opera live relay, April 2010

Renée Fleming … performs here with consummate skill and brilliant characterisation, very ably supported by Lawrence Brownlee as Rinaldo.

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Il Turco in Italia, Royal Opera, April 2010

Rossini’s music is full of fun, and this production has a sense of spontaneity, as if it were Commedia dell’arte.

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Lohengrin, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Wagner Wochen, February 2010

Friedrich’s excellent staging is well supported by the performers, particularly Waltraud Meier, who plays the evil Ortrud with subtle malice, and Eike Wilm Schulte, who portrays a fiercely tendentious Telramund with a commanding voice — this nasty pair both exhibit great stage presence.

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Review — Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Royal Opera, July 2009

Ferruccio Furlanetto and Alessandro Corbelli are terrific singing actors with perfect comic timing, but what really made the evening was Joyce DiDonato as Rosina.

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La Cenerentola, live relay from the Metropolitan Opera, New York, May 2009

While Elina Garanča as Cenerentola … was the star of the show, Alessandro Corbelli [as Don Magnifico] was superb with his perfect comic timing

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