Columns linked to Royal Opera House Covent Garden

An Eighteen Month Delay but Worth the Wait for Jenůfa at the R...

Sam Smith

Jenůfa, which premiered in Brno in 1904, is an opera in three acts by Leoš Janáček to a Czech libretto by the composer. It is based on the play Její pastorkyňa by Gabriela Preissová, and is one of the very first operas to be written in prose. Set in a Moravian village in the nineteenth century, the plot concerns a series of tangled relationships that derive from the fact that two fathers both married twice, and had a child by three of their four...


Tenth Revival of David McVicar’s The Magic Flute at the Royal ...

Sam Smith

Sir David McVicar’s 2001 production of Rigoletto for the Royal Opera may just have been displaced by a new version by Oliver Mears, but his The Magic Flute of 2003 is still going strong. Mozart’s final opera, which premiered on 30 September 1791 just a few months before the composer’s death, takes the form of a Singspiel that combines singing with spoken dialogue. In it, the Queen of the Night persuades Prince Tamino to rescue her daughter Pamina from captivity...


First New Production of Rigoletto in Twenty Years at the Royal...

Sam Smith

Based on Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s’amuse, Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto was a triumph when it premiered at La Fenice in Venice in 1851, and has remained one of the composer’s most frequently performed operas ever since. Its popularity is thoroughly deserved but might still be deemed interesting, given that it is a contender for the cruellest opera in the mainstream repertoire. While many works see the innocent suffer and die, there is usually a sense in...


Jette Parker Young Artists Take Centre-Stage in Susanna at the...

Sam Smith

Handel’s Susanna of 1749 takes its story from Chapter 13 of the Book of Daniel. Set during the Babylonian captivity, it sees Susanna’s husband Joacim have to leave her for a period. Two Elders of the community who are besotted with her use his absence as an opportunity to try to force themselves upon her while she is bathing. When, however, she resists their advances, in revenge they invent a story that they caught her in an adulterous act and she is consequently...


First Ever Staging of Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Under ...

Sam Smith

Gerald Barry has written six operas, with his first The Intelligence Park of 1990 appearing in the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio last autumn. Now, his Alice’s Adventures Under Ground of 2016 comes to Covent Garden’s larger venue for its first ever staged performances. The opera only lasts an hour meaning there are two performances on most of the days it is appearing, with Cast A taking on one of them and Cast B the other. Barry has opted for the original title of...


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...