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The Little Match Girl ‘Retold’ in Aisha and Abhaya at the Roya...

Sam Smith

On the Royal Opera House’s website Aisha and Abhaya is listed under both ‘opera and music’ and ‘ballet and dance’ as if to suggest it is a hybrid piece. While, however, it undoubtedly consists of music, dance and film, it is hard to see how it qualifies as an opera since across the hour-long piece only a small amount of (non-operatic) singing features in Ori Lichtik and Gaika’s specially created soundtrack. Nevertheless, this point is made solely for...


The Return of the Old Paper Aida at Gran Teatre del Liceu

Xavier Pujol

Aida - the opera which with over 450 performances is by large the most performed at Liceu - has come back once more to the Barcelonan theatre in a unique staging that belongs to the history of the theatre: the old paper set by stage designer Josep Mestres Cabanes (1898-1990). Aida (c) A. Bofill Aida (c) A. Bofill Mestres Cabanes, master of perspective and scenography trompe-l’oeil, spent 8 years painting this set. This was premiered in 1945 and was used regularly...


Second Revival of Richard Jones’s La bohème at the Royal Opera...

Sam Smith

Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 creation La bohème, which is almost cinematographic in its length and proportions, is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world today. Set in 1830s Paris, it focuses on six young adults and the love that four of them find with each other amidst the most impoverished of circumstances. One couple (Marcello and Musetta) have a stormy relationship but their frequent battles prove that their love actually has staying power. Rodolfo and...


Slow Pace but Strong Performances in La traviata at the Royal ...

Sam Smith

Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata of 1853 is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world today. Based on Alexandre Dumas, fils’s play La Dame aux camélias, it tells of Violetta Valéry who is a famed Parisian courtesan. Beneath her apparently carefree exterior, however, she is suffering from tuberculosis and her world is shaken when she meets Alfredo with whom she falls in love. They run away together and live off the sale of her goods, but one day...


Find Yourself in The Lost Thing at the Royal Opera House, Cove...

Sam Smith

The Lost Thing represents a collaboration between the Royal Opera, composer Jules Maxwell and Candoco Dance Company and its Artistic Co-Director Ben Wright. It is based on Shaun Tan’s eponymous book of 2000, which also spawned an Oscar-winning animation, and sees a boy (Shaun) discover a strange creature on the beach. He finds it impossible to describe it as anything other than The Thing, and since it seems to belong nowhere it is The Lost Thing. When Shaun tries to find a place...


Brilliant Performances in First Revival of Keith Warner’s Otel...

Sam Smith

Like the Shakespeare play upon which it is based, Giuseppe Verdi’s penultimate opera Otello of 1887 is the story of a general in the Venetian military whose skills in managing political and personal affairs do not match those he has demonstrated in fighting. When his ensign Iago feels Otello has sidelined him for promotion, he lays a trap to make Otello believe his wife Desdemona has been unfaithful, and the general falls whole-heartedly for the deception with disastrous...


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