Marriage of Figaro, English National Opera, ENO, March 2020

This new minimalist production strips away the usual setting, and concentrates on the characters’ interactions with one another and the sexual yearnings that drive them all. The staging allows the performers to connect directly with the audience — see my review in The Article.

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Così fan tutte, English Touring Opera, ETO, Hackney Empire, March 2020

A delightful production in bright colours with a very fine young cast, all under the baton Holly Mathieson. My review in The Article.

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Fidelio, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, March 2020

The concept for this new production is excellent, though its presentation in Act II didn’t meet with audience approval. Wonderfully energetic conducting by Antonio Pappano, and Lise Davidsen in the title role was truly outstanding — my review in The Article.

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Dances at a Gathering/ The Cellist, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, February 2020

Dances at a Gathering with its wonderfully imaginative choreography by Jerome Robbins was sheer delight, followed by The Cellist, a new ballet by Cathy Marston on the life and loves of Jacqueline du Pré, based mainly on three dancers representing: her, the conductor (Barenboim) and a personification of the cello by a male dancer — …

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Luisa Miller, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2020

Wonderful performances of this Verdi opera despite a heavily psychological production involving dancers, a chorus dressed as clowns, Rodolfo and Luisa as young children, and avoiding one death on the basis that evil will always survive. My review in The Article.

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Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Welsh National Opera, Cardiff, February 2020

Following his hat trick of Il Trovatore, Rigoletto and La Traviata, Verdi satisfied a Paris commission with this work about the Sicilian uprising in 1282. French grand opera did not really suit Verdi, and the libretto by Eugène Scribe was a hack job, but the music is largely wonderful — my review in The Article.

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Onegin, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, January 2020

Tchaikovsky’s opera on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin inspired John Cranko to create this ballet, which uses excerpts from other Tchaikovsky works put together by Kurt-Heinz Stolze. It makes a welcome return to Covent Garden with fine performances by Reece Clarke in the title role, Natalia Osipova as Olga, and Gary Avis as Prince Gremin — see my review in The …

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Otello, Royal Opera, December 2019

This first revival of Keith Warner’s dark 2017 production, once again under the baton of music director Antonio Pappano, was musically thrilling, with Ermonela Jaho as Desdemona, Gregory Kunde as Otello, and Carlos Álvarez as Iago — see my review in The Article.

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Peter Grimes, in concert at the Royal Festival Hall

Wow, this semi-staged concert performance under the direction of Edward Gardner with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra was sensational — see my review in The Article.

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Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia, Royal Ballet, November 2019

This year over December and January the Royal Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia, the first a wistful hope for a reawakening of the French monarchy after a hundred-year sleep, the second a merry spoof on romanticism — see my review in The Article.

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