Tag Archives: Sophie Bevan

The Exterminating Angel, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, April 2017

Thomas Adès’ previous opera The Tempest, set on Prospero’s mysterious island, finds a counterpoint here in the ostensibly mundane setting of an elegant dinner party — but all is not as it seems. Both operas feature very high soprano roles, Ariel in the Tempest and three of the ladies in Angel, again with the idea of …

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The Winter’s Tale, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2017

Nearly three years ago the Royal Ballet put Winter’s Tale on the ballet stage, and now it’s the opera’s turn. In a remarkable compression of Shakespeare’s five acts to an hour and forty minutes of music and drama, composer Ryan Wigglesworth has created a score that moves from the sparest flicker of passing time to …

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Der Rosenkavalier, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, December 2016

The essence of Robert Carsen’s powerful new production is time. By setting it in the period of its creation, the early twentieth century rather than the mid-eighteenth, he compresses time, giving those glorious late nineteenth century waltz melodies and the story itself the feel of a world about to be changed forever, as indeed it …

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Oedipe, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, May 2016

After a gestation period of over twenty years, Enescu’s only opera saw its first performance in 1936. Since then it has been a rarity, and despite this interesting production, originally created in 2011 for La Monnaie in Brussels, one sees why. Enescu’s inspiration was Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King, considered one of the finest dramas …

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Saul, Glyndebourne, GFO, July 2015

When Handel first produced this oratorio in 1738 the audience would have been completely au fait with the Biblical story of Saul, the king of a people previously presided over by judges and prophets such as Samuel, who anointed him as their first king. He also anointed David as his successor, but in the oratorio …

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The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera, WNO, Cardiff, February 2015

The remarkable freshness of Dominic Cooke’s 2005 production is superbly complemented by Lothar Koenigs’ conducting. He invested the overture with tremendous dramatic energy and as the opera developed fully brought out its theatrical side. Theatrical it is indeed, its librettist Schikaneder having created it for his own suburban vaudeville theatre rather than an opera house, …

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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 …

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The Pearl Fishers, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, June 2014

Penny Woolcock’s stunning production of Pearl Fishers, with its gloriously ramshackle sets, blaze of South Indian colour, and views of pearl divers sweeping through the clear blue waters, first appeared four years ago. She has now returned to direct this revival, which is superior to the original in terms of vocal performances. This time Sophie …

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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 …

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Cunning Little Vixen, WNO, Cardiff, February 2013

This opera pits the timeless amorality of the natural world against the emotions and melancholy of human beings. The former is represented by the Vixen, her family, and other forest animals, the latter by Forester, Schoolmaster, Priest and Poacher. In the original story by Rudolf Těsnohlídek, based on drawings by Stanislav Lolek, the Vixen lives …

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Siegfried, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, September 2012

Wotan’s meeting with Erda that starts Act III of Siegfried is a focal point in his demise.  After awakening her for advice she tells him to ask Brünnhilde, their daughter bold and wise, but learning Wotan has cast her aside, she asks why he who taught defiance punished defiance, why he who ruled by vows now …

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A Celebration of Ivor Novello, BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, August 2012

“A gentle, more elegant age” was how the BBC’s Katie Derham referred to the world of Ivor Novello in her brief introduction, quoting We’ll Gather Lilacs in connection with his funeral in 1951. After that we were placed in the very capable hands of Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra for a glorious late night concert. They …

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Der Rosenkavalier, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, January 2012

For those who love this Strauss/Hofmannsthal collaboration, the programme booklet contains an interesting essay by Mike Reynolds, describing the vital contributions by Hofmannsthal’s collaborator, Count Harry Kessler. This well-connected and talented man, who was brought up in France, England and Germany, chose the plot and had a huge influence on its structure and realisation. The …

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Castor and Pollux, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, October 2011

Originally composed in 1737 this opera was revised in 1754 and subsequently became Rameau’s most popular. Castor and Pollux are brothers, the former mortal, the latter immortal, and the start of the story is roughly that Castor is adored by Phoebe and her sister Telaira, who is betrothed to Pollux. He gives her up so …

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Radamisto, English National Opera, ENO at the London Coliseum, October 2010

On 27th April 1720, a month before his sixtieth birthday, King George I attended the opera with his son the Prince of Wales. They’d only recently reunited after not speaking to another for three years, so this was just the right opera to see.

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