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A Thrilling Siegfried at the Royal Festival Hall, LondonSam Smith
In January and February 2021 the London Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski, will be presenting Richard Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen twice at the Royal Festival Hall. It began performing the operas individually two years ago, with Das Rheingold being presented in 2018, Die Walküre last year and Siegfried appearing now. This is the opera that moves on from the failed attempts of the chief god Wotan to retain control of the world for...
Second Revival of Calixto Bieito’s Carmen at the London ColiseumSam Smith
Based on Prosper Mérimée’s eponymous novella, Georges Bizet’s Carmen of 1875 is the story of the ultimate temptress. A gypsy and cigarette factory worker in Seville, Carmen has the power to entice any man she chooses. Once, however, they are besotted with her she quickly moves on, leaving them heart broken and unable to accept what has happened. In the opera Don José, an army corporal, has almost everything he could ever desire. He has the sweet, loving...
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 LiceuXavier 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...