A wonderfully vivid evening: Blackheath Halls Opera in Bernstein’s Candide

Bernstein’s Candide has been through innumerable versions since the work’s disastrous premiere on Broadway in 1956, and in many ways, it remains a sequence of songs in search of a…

The Trocs go to the opera? Vinci’s Alessandro nell’Indie with five countertenors at Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival

This was a brilliantly theatrical and superbly sung recreation of an opera reflecting the work’s premiere by an all-male cast. Max Emanuel Cencic’s Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival takes place in…

Prom 7: an ‘interventionist’ Dido and Aeneas from David Bates and La Nuova Musica

We have no idea what the first performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas sounded like, we’re not even sure when it took place.  All we have are possibilities, probabilities, and a few…

Hasse’s Antonio e Cleopatra at the Buxton International Festival

Like Handel before him, Johann Hasse (some 14 years Handel’s junior) left his native Germany to get some Italianate polish.  His first major work was the serenata Antonio e Cleopatra,…

La donna del lago at the Buxton International Festival

Rossini’s operas for Naples, where he was music director of the Royal theatres from 1815 to 1821 represent an important strand in the development of his opera.  There he had…

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…