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Dancing Dominates in Orpheus and Eurydice at the London Coliseum

Sam Smith

Based on the legend of Orpheus, Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, which tells of the former’s attempt to rescue the latter from the Underworld after she dies, is a seminal work in the evolution of opera. With its focus on an underground rescue mission in which the hero must conceal his true feelings, it was to be a major influence on German opera and specifically the plots of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Beethoven’s Fidelio and Wagner’s Das...


Gerald Barry’s First Opera The Intelligence Park at the Royal ...

Sam Smith

Gerald Barry has written six operas, including Alice’s Adventures Under Ground which comes to the Royal Opera House’s main stage next February. His first, however, The Intelligence Park of 1990, is currently appearing in the venue’s smaller Linbury Studio in a co-production with Music Theatre Wales. Set in Dublin in 1753, it sees a composer Paradies struggling to write an opera about the amorous entanglements of warrior Wattle and enchantress Daub, as his imagination...


Top Music Making and Performances in Agrippina at the Royal Op...

Sam Smith

Agrippina of 1709 is the second opera that Handel wrote in Italy, and his first notable operatic success. Set in Ancient Rome, it sees the title character, who is the wife of the Emperor Claudio, take steps to ensure that her son from her first marriage, Nerone, is crowned Emperor when news reaches her that Claudio has been killed at sea. After, however, manipulating the freedmen Pallante and Narciso to hail Nerone as Emperor in front of the Senate, the commander Ottone arrives proclaiming...


Committed Performances in Werther at the Royal Opera House, Co...

Sam Smith

Jules Massenet’s Werther, with libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann, was written between 1885 and 1887, although it did not premiere until 1892. Set in Wetzlar in Germany in the 1780s, and loosely based on Goethe’s epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, it concerns a melancholic poet who is besotted with Charlotte. Their feelings for each other begin to develop when her betrothed Albert is away, but he returns unexpectedly and Charlotte...


First Rate Character Exploration in Don Giovanni at the Royal ...

Sam Smith

Don Giovanni of 1787 is one of three operas that Mozart wrote with the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte (the others being Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte). It tells of the eponymous hero, or rather antihero, who effortlessly conquers thousands of women. Although in the process he makes many enemies, the ladies he has cheated have a habit of coming back for more or trying to save him, and in the end he is responsible for his own downfall. When the ghost of the Commendatore who he...


Radvanovsky and Beczala shine in Luisa Miller at Liceu

Xavier Pujol

Once again, the season at Liceu comes to a close and, very importantly, Christina Scheppelmann’s era as artistic director of the Barcelonan theatre ends as well. She will be the new artistic director at the Seattle Opera from August. Having been leading Liceu for the last five years and having had to face grave economic limitations, she has nevertheless left important landmarks for Liceu’s artistic history such as Benvenuto Cellini, the celebrated Andrea Chénier with...


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