Columns linked to John Tomlinson

Top Cast in Revival of Jonathan Miller’s The Mikado at the Lon...

Sam Smith

The Mikado, one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular works and the subject of Mike Leigh’s film Topsy-Turvy, is a farcical operetta that sees all of the residents of the town of Titipu trying to escape execution, including the executioner! First performed in 1885, its nominal Japanese setting is a thin veil for its real commentary on English values, hierarchies and arcane laws and conventions. This being so, director Jonathan Miller decided to do away with any notion of Japan...


A Truly Overwhelming Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the Royal Oper...

Sam Smith

Although initially enjoying great success, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk of 1934 has courted controversy almost from day one. Being condemned from various quarters for its lurid descriptive music in the sex scenes, its supposed justification of Stalin’s genocide (the main protagonist kills her kulak in-laws) and its ‘primitive satire’ in its treatment of the priest and police, it was attacked by both Stravinsky (who described it as ‘lamentably...


Thomas Ades “The exterminating angel” at the Salzburg Festival...

Helmut Pitsch

The British composer Thomas Adès has gained international reputation with his opera compositions of The Tempest premiered 2004 at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Powder her Face premiered in 1995 at the Cheltenham Festival as well as conductor and pianist. He has been committed by the Salzburg Festival for their yearly contemporary opera. Together with director Tom Cairns, Thomas Ades has created the libretto based on Luis Buñuel script and film El ángel...


Oedipe at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Composer, violinist, pianist, conductor and teacher (Yehudi Menuhin was one of his pupils), George Enescu (1881-1955) is regarded by many as Romania’s most important musician. His sole opera Oedipe is generally acclaimed to be his greatest masterpiece, and yet, in Britain at least, it has been somewhat neglected. This is the first time it has ever appeared at the Royal Opera House, while the production, which premiered in Brussels in 2011, also represents the first time that the work...