An RAM double bill: Ravel’s L’Heure espagnole and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi

How wonderful at last to return to opera at the Royal Academy of Music. (I caught an excellent concert of chamber music by Bartók and Eötvös from musicians coached by…

A patriarchy-punching Magic Flute directed by Polly Graham at the Royal College of Music

At first glance, Polly Graham’s decision to set Mozart’s The Magic Flute in a secondary school seems an inspired one.  After all, in Schikaneder’s journey from darkness to light the…

ENO’s Valkyrie fails to catch fire: an under-ambitious start to Richard Jones’s Ring Cycle

Very little exists in a visual way of Wieland Wagner’s Bayreuth Die Walküre from the mid-to-late 1960s. What does, largely requires us to use our imagination. It is something which…

Simon Keenlyside and Anna Pirozzi: chilling psychopaths in Covent Garden’s impressive revival of Macbeth

Macbeth is the first great fusion of music and drama in Verdi’s operas. It needs a great production, however, to bring those elements together and this is largely what Phyllida…

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Met

Last week I attended the recent MET revival of Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg alone. My wife declined to join me, insisting that she could not bear hearing endless…

Le nozze di Figaro: Hampstead Garden Opera

HGO (formerly Hampstead Garden Opera) has been one of the musical heroes of the pandemic. Last year, it brought opera back to London with Holst’s Savītri; this year, it was…

Sharp slaps and pungent pyrotechnics: Glyndebourne’s Don Pasquale at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

There was pungent, post-explosion smoke in the Marlowe Theatre during the performance of Glyndebourne’s touring production of Don Pasquale, and it wasn’t all the result of the pyrotechnics with which…

A rake revived: Glyndebourne Tour at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

John Cox and David Hockney’s Glyndebourne production of The Rake’s Progress has proved one of the Festival’s most enduring successes, revived frequently in the Sussex theatre and in international houses…

A compelling Robert Devereux from Chelsea Opera Group at Cadogan Hall

In June 2019, the Australian soprano Helena Dix stepped into the royal shoes of Elizabeth I, replacing soprano Ina Schlingensiepen at the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe in the third and final…

Vibrant visuals and fancy footwork: Cal McCrystal’s HMS Pinafore at English National Opera

The Modern Major-General may dismiss its whistled airs as “infernal nonsense”, but the songs of HMS Pinafore have lost none of their appeal during the near 150 years since Gilbert…