Boris Godunov, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, June 2019

This production uses Musorgsky’s vibrant, original version, with several singers returning to the roles they performed when this production was new in 2016. Again Bryn Terfel was magnificent as a powerfully sympathetic and well-nuanced Boris, with David Butt Philip giving a mean performance as the novice Grigory (Dmitri the pretender). New to the role of …

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Der Ring des Nibelungen, Budapest Wagner Days, June 2019

This was a revelation: first the acoustic, where singers can be heard clearly wherever they stand on stage; second the wonderfully subtle conducting of Ádám Fischer, who produced a funeral march in Götterdämmerung that sang with unforgettable emotion, helped by a well-controlled brass section; and third the semi-staging. See my review in The Daily Telegraph, which …

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Das Rheingold, Longborough, June 2019

The first year of preparation for Longborough’s new Ring has started with a very effective production of Das Rheingold.The excellent use of video designs by Tim Baxter shows Valhalla peeping through the clouds, and the approach to the rainbow bridge at the end adds a cosmic touch to Wotan’s dream palace. Musically wonderful under the baton …

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Manon Lescaut, Opera Holland Park, June 2019

This opening of the Opera Holland Park season saw a production of Puccini’s first masterpiece by young director Karolina Sofulak, who updated this story of a girl torn between the student Des Grieux and the elderly aristocrat Geronte from its natural place in the eighteenth century to the swinging sixties. It didn’t work, and the …

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Don Carlo, Grange Park Opera, June 2019

A thrilling revival of the 2016 production, once again under the excellent baton of Gianluca Marcianò. Clive Bayley and Ruxandra Donose reprised their beautifully nuanced performances as Philip II and Princess Eboli, joined this time by international rising star Leonardo Capalbo as Carlo, and Brett Polegato as Rodrigo, both superb, with Marina Costa-Jackson singing strongly …

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Tosca, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, May 2019

A terrific revival of Tosca with Bryn Terfel as Scarpia and Kristine Opolais as Tosca under the wonderfully sensitive baton of Alexander Joel. Vittorio Grigolo’s resounding tenor as Cavaradossi lacked some magic and nobility, but wonderful performances of Angelotti and the Sacristan. See my review in The Article.

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Andrea Chénier, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, May 2019

In this hugely welcome revival of David McVicar’s 2015 production, the three greatest moments came in Act III: Sondra Radvanovsky’s terrific Mamma morta, Dimitri Platanias’s cri de coeur against the wrong turn the Revolution has taken, and Elena Zilio’s electrifying cameo about giving her grandson to fight and die for France. Roberto Alagna’s Chenier was less …

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The Damnation of Faust, Glyndebourne, May 2019

When it all seemed to be over a dance encore was performed, to music extracted from earlier in Berlioz’s score. But this did not redeem Richard Jones’s dreary production, which made a lacklustre start to the new Glyndebourne Season. See my review in The Article

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Billy Budd, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, April 2019

A hugely moving performance of Deborah Warner’s new production under the baton of Ivor Bolton, with Toby Spence superb as Captain Vere, with Brindley Sherratt a vivid Claggart, and Jacques Imbrailo conveying the fatal charm and blinding honesty of Billy himself. See my review in The Article.

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Faust, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, April 2019

Sensational performance by Michael Fabiano as Faust, with devilishly seductive Erwin Schrott as Mephistophélès, and Mandy Fredrich making a fine ROH debut as Marguerite. She replaced Irina Lungu (fever and sore throat), who in turn replaced Diana Damrau (slipped disc), arriving just in time by taxi from the airport. Superb conducting by Dan Ettinger. See …

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