Aleko, Gianni Schicchi, Grange Park Opera, June 2024

Grange Park Opera in Surrey is a magical place that boasts a brand new opera house in the woods. This year the season began with a double bill featuring Bryn Terfel in both operas: the first Aleko by Rachmaninov and the second Gianni Schicchi by Puccini. Of the two, Schicchi wins hands down, making it …

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Andrea Chenier, Royal Opera, May 2024

Antonio Pappano bows out at the Royal Opera with a superb Andrea Chénier. This verismo opera by Giordano is one of the great operas of that genre, with a superb libretto by Luigi Illica who wrote for Puccini and other Italian opera composers of that time. It brings the French Revolution and its bloody aftermath …

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Carmen, Glyndebourne, May 2024

Last month the Royal Opera staged a new production of Carmen, and this month Glyndebourne did the same. On balance I preferred the Royal Opera’s, but wish there had been better communication between the two administrations to avoid a clash. Both productions had their merits, and this one by a female director seemed too focused …

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Madrid, April 2024

A performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with an international cast was enough to attract me to the Teatro Real in Madrid. With Gerald Finley at the top of his game as a sympathetic Hans Sachs of huge gravitas, and a memorable Beckmesser in Leigh Melrose this was a moving performance. See my review …

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Lucia di Lammermoor, Royal Opera, April 2024

Musically stunning. This was a great performance of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. The orchestra, the singers, the lighting, and the staging by Katie Mitchell with its split stage has been improved beyond measure since its unpopular inception in 2016. See my review in The Article.

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Carmen, Royal Opera, April 2024

A terrific opening of Covent Garden’s new Carmen. Olga Kulchynska made a seductive gypsy and Piotr Beczala a suitably weak but vocally strong and effortless Don José in this new production by Damiano Michieletto. The lighting beautifully conveyed the light and dark of Bizet’s opera — see my review in The Article.

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Bluebeard’s Castle, English National Opera, March 2024

Several years back the ENO produced Bartok’s wonderful one-act opera in a fine staging, but this semi-staging was more of a concert performance. The musical side was outstanding, and John Relyea gave a superb performance of the title character — see my review for The Article.

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Jenufa, English National Opera, March 2024

This opera marks the beginning of Janáček’s personal style, with a series of five operas in the standard repertoire. The ENO production is excellent, set in the grey times of post WW2 communism, and the orchestral performance was outstanding. See my review in The Article.

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Death in Venice, Welsh National Opera, WNO, March 2024

In Thomas Mann’s novella Der Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) Gustav von Aschenbach, a great man of literature from Germany dies in the warmth of Southern Europe. Made into an extraordinary opera by Benjamin Britten, the 17 scenes create a sense of inevitability in what can be seen as a Greek tragedy — see …

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Magic Flute, English National Opera, February 2024

This production of Mozart’s Magic Flute really is rather magical. The opera is a Singspiel — meaning a light opera with dialogue — and having it performed in English makes complete sense. The difference between the world of Papageno with his flat working man’s accent and the more superior beings such as Sarastro comes through …

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