Orphée by Philip Glass, English National Opera, ENO, November 2019

Glass’s opera, based on a film by Jean Cocteau, is the final one in ENO’s Orpheus quartet, and Netia Jones intriguing production reveals Orphée’s mysterious wanderings on the edges of death and immortality. Terrific performances by Jennifer France as The Princess and Nicky Spence as her chauffeur — my review in The Article.

Read more >


The Mask of Orpheus, English National Opera, ENO, October 2019

Harrison Birtwistle’s Mask of Orpheus is a complex, multi-layered composition, more symphony than opera, but high camp is not the right way to stage it. This was director Daniel Kramer’s swan song after his ill-starred role as artistic director, and confirms that the ENO did the right thing in dispensing with his services. My review …

Read more >


Don Pasquale, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, October 2019

This new production at the Royal Opera follows its Paris premiere in March, and is brilliantly performed with a cast headed Bryn Terfel and Russian-German soprano Olga Peretyatko. Glorious comic timing by both under the sensitive and lively baton of Evelino Pidò. See my review in The Article.

Read more >


Die Frau ohne Schatten, Vienna State Opera, October 2019

Christian Thielemann conducted this performance in Vienna on 10 October 2019, 100 years to the day after its premiere in the same location. The superb cast was headed by Camilla Nylund, Nina Stemme, Mihoko Fujimura, Stephen Gould and Tomasz Konieczny. See my review in The Article.

Read more >


Der Silbersee: Ein Wintermärchen, English Touring Opera, ETO, October 2019

Premiered in February 1933, Kurt Weill’s Silbersee gives an insight into the Germany in which Hitler had just come to power. It is a story of guilt, remorse, anger, resentment, and ultimately redemption, superbly brought to life in James Conway’s theatrically sensitive production — see my review in The Article.

Read more >


Orpheus and Eurydice, English National Opera, ENO, Oct 2019

The dramatic lighting effects in this Wayne McGregor production are a hallmark of his work for the Royal Ballet, as is his choreography for the furies and shades. This enlivened Gluck’s wonderful music, conducted by Harry Bicket with glorious singing from the chorus and three principals: Alice Coote (Orpheus), Sarah Tynan (Eurydice) and Soraya Mafi …

Read more >


Agrippina, Royal Opera, September 2019

This Handel opera centres on two strong women: Agrippina and Poppea, with Joyce DiDonato at the top of her game as a smoothly scheming Agrippina, and Lucy Crowe as a charmingly pretty Poppea. A very strong cast beautifully conducted from the harpsichord by Maxim Emelyanychev, but the self-indulgent production by Barrie Kosky was way over the …

Read more >


Carmen, Welsh National Opera, September 2019

In her new production for Welsh National Opera, director Jo Davies has grasped the essence of this work, setting it in a Brazilian favela, and under the baton of Tomáš Hanus with Virginie Verrez in the title role this was a compelling performance. My review in The Article.

Read more >


Werther, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, September 2019

A terrific revival, fully expressing the enormous subtlety of this Massenet opera under Edward Gardner’s musical direction. Superbly cast with Juan Diego Flórez as Werther and Isabel Leonard as Charlotte giving beautifully nuanced performances — my review in The Article.

Read more >


Double Bill: Il Segreto di Susanna/ Iolanta, Opera Holland Park, July 2019

Wolf-Ferrari’s delightful comedy, Il Segreto di Susanna under the baton of John Andrews formed a delightful prelude to Tchaikovsky’s final opera Iolanta, conducted by Sian Edwards. This was a revelation in Olivia Fuchs’ excellent production and Sian Edwards’ sensitive conducting that really drew forth the emotional pull of the music that Tchaikovsky created to embody the …

Read more >