Opera Rara perform Mercadante’s Il proscritto at the Barbican Hall

Mercadante is the nearly man of Italian opera, with a successful career lasting from 1819 to the 1860s yet never quite achieving the level of prominence, or historical endurance, of…

Rusalka at Garsington Opera

Garsington Opera planned its production of Dvořák’s Rusalka for 2020 with Natalya Romaniw in the title role.  Cancelled and re-scheduled for 2022, thankfully still with Romaniw, the production debuted last…

London Handel Festival at St John’s Smith Square

On Wednesday 14 April 2022, two London festivals came together when the London Handel Festival brought a programme of Baroque sacred music to St John’s Smith Square’s Easter Festival. Adrian…

London Handel Festival: Acis and Galatea at Stone Nest

We don’t know much about the first performance (in 1718) of Handel’s pastoral Acis and Galatea but there is a tradition that it was premiered in the gardens of Cannons, the grand…

Tim Albery’s new production of Alcina for Opera North

Handel was rather fond of enchantresses; they pop up in his operas both early and late. It wasn’t the power per se that seems to have interested him but the…

Opera North’s Rigoletto

Ostensibly, Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s’amuse satirised the licentious court of King Francis I of France, but at the play’s 1832 premiere in Paris the authorities thought the subject…

Imaginative, daring, enterprising: Fulham Opera’s production of Richard Strauss’s Die ägyptische Helena

Richard Strauss’ Die ägyptische Helena remains something of the ugly duckling amongst the operas he wrote with Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Premiered in Dresden in 1928, it has rarely been performed…

Arias for Ballino: Opera Settecento at the London Handel Festival

Annibale Pio Fabri, known as ‘Ballino’, is not the best-known name amongst the singers who worked for Handel, yet on hearing him for the first time in 1729, Mrs Pendarves…

The English Concert perform Samson at the London Handel Festival

Handel’s dramatic talents as a composer ran to the expansive, in a way that Handel the promoter found tricky so that many of his works were trimmed and edited for…

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut at the Grange Festival

Stephen Lawless’ production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut opened at the Grange Festival on 26 June 2021, the third of this year’s three opera productions all originally planned for 2020. Elin Pritchard was…