“Birds and Balls” in San Francisco

Two recent one-acts cleverly combined by stage director Brian Staufenbiel into one grand, operatic sporting event. San Francisco’s alternative opera company, Opera Parallele pulled off a slam dunk show. It…

Some outstanding singing at the Royal Opera’s new Carmen

For any new staging of a work as familiar as Carmen there is an imperative to root out fresh perspectives, to pursue a previously unexplored angle; effectively to reinvent the…

A Mesmerising Death in Venice from Welsh National Opera

Like the protagonist in Thomas Mann’s eponymous novella, Benjamin Britten’s failing health made him keenly aware of his own mortality as he embarked upon one of the most challenging projects…

Welsh National Opera’s Così fan tutte

Dismissed by Beethoven and Wagner, Così fan tutte has taken nearly two centuries to emerge from society’s censor and for Mozart’s genius for expressing human nature through sublime music to…

McVicar’s Tristan und Isolde returns to the New National Theatre Tokyo

David McVicar’s production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, making a welcome return to the New National Theatre, Tokyo, was seen on March 20. The revival, the first since its widely…

Simon Boccanegra and The Exterminating Angel in Paris

Both operas staged by famed (for many) or infamous (for others) Spanish stage director Calixto Bieito.  Both Parisian Bieito productions bore this stage director’s signature touches — a complex, abstract…

A remarkable Duke Bluebeard’s Castle from ENO

It would be hard to imagine greater stress levels on the morning of the opening night of English National Opera’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle when soprano Allison Cook, scheduled to sing…

What a difference a conductor makes: Puccini’s less-wounded Butterfly

Two years ago, on this very site, I reviewed a matinée performance of Madama Butterfly at Covent Garden; the review was titled A Wounded Butterfly.  The beautiful production by Moshe…

La fanciulla del West in Lyon

Forget the West of San Francisco born David Belasco’s The Girl of the Golden West (the source of Puccini’s opera), not to be confused with Peter Sellers’ The Girls of…

Pique Dame in Lyon

The Russian Avant-garde has attacked Lyon, Pique Dame is left in ruin! Enfant terrible (now forty years old) Russian avant-gardiste stage director Timofeï Kouliabine fled Russia in protest of its…