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Cleverness and Magic in Abundance in Wolf Witch Giant Fairy at...Sam Smith
Fairy tale ‘mash-ups’, whereby many of our favourite magical stories are rolled into one, are not unknown in theatre. Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods constitutes one, as does arguably Act III of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, in which a plethora of well loved characters dance. If, however, these works have already ensured that musical theatre and ballet are in on the act, Wolf Witch Giant Fairy now guarantees that opera is present at the party. Wolf...
Jacques Offenbach's "Orphée aux Enfers" at the Komische Oper B...Zenaida des Aubris
After the great success at the Salzburg Festival in summer 2019, the co-production with Komische Oper of Orpheus in the Underworld was finally able to take place in front of a 100% full house in Berlin. 2G+ (vaccinated or recovered, wearing a mask at all times) regulations makes it possible. For his first full-length opera, Jacques Offenbach based his inspiration on the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, but shifted it to the France of the 2nd Republic and used it as an opera buffa...
Excellent Revival of Jonathan Kent’s Tosca at the Royal Opera ...Sam Smith
Based on Victorien Sardou’s 1887 French-language play, Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca of 1900 is one opera that few directors choose to set in anything other than its original time and place. There are exceptions to this rule, but when all of the action can be linked to a real historical event on a precise date, there are certainly advantages to retaining the intended setting, and many risks associated with changing it. The entire story takes place during the afternoon,...
Liceu: Wagemakers’ Rigoletto returns with Bernheim, Maltman an...Xavier Pujol
Rigoletto comes back to Liceu – there will be fifteen performances and it will take the stage for the next few weeks. Verdi’s opera is presented in the same production, with Monique Wagemakers signing as stage director, as in March 2017 which was already reviewed for Opera Online. Nothing essential has changed and its virtues and flows are still present. However, it would seem that in this re-staged version, the actors’ direction and the choir’s movement...
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...