Handsome performances in Verdi’s Otello from Grange Park Opera

Shadows, suspicion and saintliness each find a tragic outlet in Grange Park Opera’s Otello – Verdi’s late masterpiece, prompted by his publisher and premiered in 1887 following a period of…

Die tote Stadt at Longborough Festival Opera

‘Bruges était sa morte.  Et sa morte était Bruges.’  In his novella Bruges-la-Morte (1892), the Belgian symbolist author George Rodenbach makes clear the affinity between the ‘dead city’, Bruges, and…

The Excursions of Mr Brouček at Grange Park Opera

Hats off to Grange Park Opera for unquestionably the best of the four ‘country house’ operas I have seen so far this season. First, and perhaps most important, with respect…

A Wounded Butterfly at Covent Garden

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, beautiful though it is, presents issues for contemporary values; hence the current rethink of the Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier production.  The Royal Opera brought in Japanese…

Rouvali’s mighty and stereophonic ‘Resurrection’ closes his first season with the Philharmonia

The final concert of the Philhamonia Orchestra’s Spring-Summer season came to an end with that greatest of Mahler blockbuster symphonies, the choral ‘Resurrection’. It also marked the end of Santtu-Matias…

Thrilling Macbeth from the Grange Festival

Verdi’s operatic makeover of Shakespeare’s Scottish play was given a highly charged staging at the Grange Festival when I caught up with it on its second night.  From the Preludio’s…

Georges Bizet’s Carmen at Opera Holland Park

Carmen was the last opera I saw before the end of the world.  Not necessarily what I would have chosen; for many of my friends it was Fidelio, whose absence…

Oedipus Rex at the San Francisco Symphony

Plague infested Thebes, plague infested San Francisco. Esa Pekka Salonen has brought his Peter Sellars staged Oedipus Rex and concluding Stravinsky prayer, Symphony of Psalms, to Davis Hall. Salonen, now…

Il prigioniero: Pappano and the LSO give an exceptional performance of Luigi Dallapiccola’s opera of torture and Inquisition

When it comes to the style and essence of their music Ottorino Respighi and Luigi Dallapiccola really come from entirely different places.  Church Windows and Il prigioniero, heard side by…

Tamerlano at The Grange Festival: superb singing but somewhat staid production

One might say of Daniel Slater’s production of Handel’s Tamerlano at The Grange Festival that the staging offers nothing about which to complain and that the singing gives much to…