WNO’s La bohème at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Annabel Arden’s production of La bohème is ten years old now, but somehow I’ve contrived not to encounter it during my visits to the Birmingham Hippodrome during the last decade. …

Mortality and meaning: Welsh National Opera’s superb Makropulos Case at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Elina Makropulos, the ‘heroine’ of Leoš Janáček’s 1925 opera The Makropulos Case (Věc Makropulos), has been alive for 337 years, her longevity prolonged by an experimental potion given to her…

A masterly traversal of Duparc songs

The habit among composers of almost excessive self-criticism has been a curiously French phenomenon over the last century, typified by Dukas, Duruflé and his younger, more progressive contemporary Henri Dutilleux.…

To La Scala Picturehouse, for an intriguing triple bill at Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Nino Rota’s one-act radio opera, Il due timidi, was composed for Radio Audizioni Italiane and first broadcast in November 1950.  Its first London performance took place at the Scala Theatre…

Fine collaborations between Claude Debussy & Mikko Franck

Some twenty years ago Finnish conductor Mikko Franck, then in his early 20s, was considered classical music’s Next Best Thing: his debut conducting disc with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra…

Ernani at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Giuseppe Verdi’s early masterpiece Ernani returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago in a production featuring several outstanding singers. The role of Ernani is sung by Russell Thomas, the part of…

The Rape of Lucretia at Snape Maltings

The myth of Lucretia, first told by Livy, tells of the rape of Collatinus’s eponymous wife by his fellow soldier, Tarquinius, the son of the Etruscan king who rules over…

An Anatomy of Melancholy

‘Melancholy can be overcome only by melancholy.’  One imagines that countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Thomas Dunford have taken heed of the words of the English clergyman Robert Burton –…

Ghosts, guilt and giggles: two contrasting Pocket Operas at Wexford Festival Opera

The opening weekend of Wexford Festival Opera 2022 offered not just three operas on the main stage of the National Opera House, but also a lunchtime recital, pop-up events around…

Félicien David’s Lalla-Roukh at Wexford Festival Opera: a forgotten gem

On 23rd September 1876, the ‘Occasional Notes’ column in The Musical World reported that after a performance of the opera Lalla-Roukh by Félicien David (1810-76), one of the musicians made…