fri 07/10/2022

ENO

Tosca, English National Opera review - a tale of two eras

Rome, 14/15 June 1800: the specifics of the original Sardou melodrama are preserved in Puccini’s thriller mixing love, lust, religion and tyranny. Many productions move forward in time, and sometimes change the place, with ease: after all, feudalist...

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The Handmaid's Tale, English National Opera review - a red-hot classic for our times

However familiar you are with The Handmaid’s Tale in Margaret Atwood’s novel or its TV adaptation, you might still be knocked sideways by the impact it makes as an opera. Poul Ruders’s music plunges us viscerally into its emotional world,...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, English National Opera review - half-realised men and beasts

Nature in the form of Storm Eunice stopped this Cunning Little Vixen in her tracks on Friday evening. ENO shrugged off the cancellation and rescheduled for Sunday afternoon. And here we were, getting the essential message that humans must reach an...

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The Valkyrie, English National Opera review - fitfully flickering flames

That the ever-decreasing circles of Richard Jones’s first Wagner Ring instalment for English National Opera ended in a no-show for the fire that should have made former Valkyrie supreme Brünnhilde proof against all but a fearless hero – Westminster...

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HMS Pinafore, English National Opera review - shipshape classic comedy craft

Yes, it was bound to be HMS Laugh-a-minute, given Cal “One Man, Two Guvnors” McCrystal’s ENO comedy riffs on an already funny early G&S classic, but what does this tight little craft have to say to Little England today?That a British sailor’s “...

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'Rest now, you God': remembering bass-baritone Norman Bailey (1933-2021)

Few singers really change your life. Norman Bailey did that for me [writes David Nice of theartsdesk]. The occasion wasn't my first experience of a Wagner opera, but it was the first time I'd been to a performance of his great human comedy Die...

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Messiah highlights, English National Opera, BBC Two review – short-cut sorrow and redemption

Well, it wasn’t quite Messiah, but it was a source of joy. In ENO’s end-of-lockdown staging, BBC Two’s transmission of Handel’s resurrection song delivered a scant 54 minutes of music from the Coliseum on Easter Saturday. In contrast, two ancient...

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Mozart's Requiem, English National Opera, BBC Two review - strong and direct act of remembrance

It must have felt very strange to Mark Wigglesworth that he returned to the London Coliseum under such unanticipated circumstances. ENO’s shortest-lived but also (many of us think) best Music Director campaigned from the start for direct...

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The Marriage of Figaro, English National Opera review - energised attitudes, lower-level humanism

So Susanna and Figaro got married on Saturday, just before the entire Almaviva household and its home, the London Coliseum, went into quarantine. Let's at least celebrate the fact that these splendid singer-actors, with youth especially on the five...

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Luisa Miller, English National Opera review - Verdi in translation makes a stylish comeback

Those who booed the production team last night - there was nothing but generous cheering for singers, conductor and orchestra - might reflect that this was at least regietheater, that singular brand of not-all-bad director's opera in Germany, with...

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theartsdesk Q&A: soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn

Could English National Opera be about to right the wrong done to a national treasure? Elizabeth Llewellyn was Brixton born - with what she calls a usual childhood, recorders and chime bars at primary school, followed by special opportunities at a...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Sir Jonathan Miller

Doctor, writer, sculptor, curator, comedian, presenter and director, Sir Jonathan Miller (1934-2019) was one of the mighty cultural and intellectual omnivores of our age. To those of a musical or theatrical bent, however, Miller was above all one of...

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