sun 03/07/2022

18th century

Così fan tutte, Royal Opera review - vibrant youth and vocal beauty

Irish soprano Jennifer Davis, a stunning Elsa in this Royal Opera season's revival of Wagner’s Lohengrin, was the lure to sit through Jan Philipp Gloger's Mozart Così again (the title, by the way – "All Women Do It" – belies the complexity applied...

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Hughes, Manchester Collective, Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester review - new work and stunning singing

Manchester Collective were back on home ground last night in the tour of a programme featuring the first performances of a new song cycle by Edmund Finnis, Out of the Dawn’s Mind. Soprano soloist was the amazing Ruby Hughes.It was home ground for...

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The False Servant, Orange Tree Theatre review - Marivaux's cruel comedy gets a modern spin

There probably isn’t a more able translator of vintage drama than Martin Crimp, the playwright whose 2004 version of Pierre Marivaux’s 1724 play about deceit, greed and sexual politics has been revived at the enterprising Orange Tree. The finale has...

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Tamerlano, The Grange Festival review - Handel brilliant in parts, but you have to wait for the drama

Handel’s operas have long posed, and still pose, severe problems for the modern theatre, and especially the modern director – all those endless streams of wonderful but emotionally more or less generalised arias hitched to interchangeable...

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Orfeo ed Euridice, Blackwater Valley Opera Festival review - heavenly possibilities, devils at work in the details

"Elysian" is the best way to describe the dream gardens of Ireland's Lismore Castle in early June: lupins, alliums and peonies rampant in endless herbaceous borders, supernatural perspectives towards the main building on various levels. This year’s...

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Così fan tutte, Garsington Opera review - gambling with the highest stakes

The scene is Monte-Carlo, around the beginning of the last century: a carefully observed world of cloudless skies, glittering seas, high society and careless privilege shared with Death in Venice. John Cox’s staging works in cool harmony with the...

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Serse, The English Concert, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - star turns from five remarkable women

You know great singing when you hear it. In Handel, for me, that was when Lucy Crowe took over a Göttingen gala back in 2013; in Mozart, most recently, it came from Emily D’Angelo making her Royal Opera debut in La clemenza di Tito. Last night, in...

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Esfahani, CBSO, Morlot, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - ghostly enchantments

Bent Sørensen has christened his new harpsichord concerto Sei Anime: “six souls”. The six concise movements, written for Mahan Esfahani and a chamber-sized orchestra, are modelled, apparently, on the dance movements of a Bach keyboard suite. But as...

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St John Passion, English Touring Opera, Lichfield Cathedral review - free-range Bach doesn't quite add up

JS Bach’s Passions as music theatre? Well, why not? Whatever the aura of untouchability around these works, they were always conceived as part of a bigger picture: a communal sacred ritual in which the divide between performer and audience wasn’t so...

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Don Giovanni, Welsh National Opera review - fine young cast let down by unhelpful conducting

If Don Giovanni is not the greatest opera ever written, it’s at least one of the very, very few that even in erratic performances have the capacity to seem it. There was so much wrong, in detail, with WNO’s revival of John Caird’s now eleven year-...

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Bajazet, Irish National Opera, Linbury Theatre review – robust but a bit rough

One thing’s clear from Irish National Opera’s bold championship of Vivaldi: he’s his own man when it comes to the stage, not some baroque generic, even if Bajazet is a pasticcio incorporating other composers’ music. He doesn’t characterize through...

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Theodora, Royal Opera review - God, love, sex, death - and terrorism

Some of Handel's late London oratorios, like the indestructible Semele, work well as fully staged operas. Others, usually the ones which swap mythology for the sacred, need dramatic help. Theodora is one of them, though Peter Sellars' now-legendary...

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