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First Class Revival of Phyllida Lloyd’s Macbeth at the Royal O...Sam Smith
The 33-year old Verdi was taking a risk when he wrote Macbeth for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence in 1847. His operas until then had largely been grounded in fact or history, and indulging in the genere fantastico (‘fantastical genre’) had its dangers when at the time it was far from universally loved. In the event, however, the premieres were so warmly received that the Florentines soon awarded Verdi his own gold crown. Macbeth became the...
The Valkyrie heralds the start of a new Ring Cycle at the Lond...Sam Smith
English National Opera is commencing a new Ring Cycle, directed by Richard Jones, but rather than starting with the first opera in Richard Wagner’s tetralogy, Das Rheingold, it is beginning with the second, The Valkyrie. Then, over the next five years, the complete series will be presented in a co-production with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. While in the initial instalment the chief god Wotan manages to retain his status and magnificent fortress Valhalla, albeit at a...
First Ever Production of HMS Pinafore at the London ColiseumSam Smith
Although this is English National Opera’s first production of HMS Pinafore, it has a long and proud tradition of performing works by Gilbert and Sullivan. It is, however, a deceptively difficult task for a major opera house to pull off their creations because it is so easy for any production to fall either side of the tightrope it inevitably walks. On the one hand, these operettas require energy and so it is always a risk that top professionals in their pursuit of excellence will...
Lisette Oropesa Dazzles as Violetta in La traviata at the Roya...Sam Smith
Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata of 1853 is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world today, and the Royal Opera’s current season is putting a special focus on the work. From October 2021 to April 2022 there will be no less than twenty-five performances featuring six different sopranos in the main role of Violetta. The initial run, which ends on 17 November 2021, will see Lisette Oropesa, Kristina Mkhitaryan and Anush Hovhannisyan play the lead, while Angel Blue,...
War Requiem: War as (only) pain and sufferingXavier Pujol
In 1942 composer Benjamin Britten declared himself a conscientious objector in front of a tribunal. Twenty years later, in 1962, his War Requiem was premiered as part of the commemorations of the inauguration of Coventry cathedral’s reconstruction, which had been destroyed during the German air raids of WWII. The composer, who considered this piece as one of his most important creations, made a requiem without epic character, without exaltation of the heroes fallen in the honour...
Fourth Revival of Phelim McDermott’s Satyagraha at the London ...Sam Smith
Philip Glass is recognised as one of the leading figures in minimalism today, and yet it is not a word he especially likes. This is understandable since it can severely underplay the variety of music that is all too often categorised under this one umbrella term. Glass himself has written over twenty-five operas, yet even if we look at just his trilogy that focuses on pivotal figures in the fields of science, politics and religion respectively, the styles of composition are markedly...