The Welsh National Opera version of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, established in the 70s by director Joachim Herz, on the basis of meticulous research, and now directed by Sarah Crisp, delivers pure emotion with devastating directness.
Of all Shakespeare’s plays, the problematic Taming of the Shrew lends itself to tongue-in-cheek adaptations. Already a play-within-a-play in the original version, framing Shakespeare’s account of the shrewish Kate and her borderline-abusive Petruchio with a backstage broken romance ratchets up a notch the already absurdly charged sexual tension.
Leoš Janácek’s absurdist opera, first performed in Brno on 6 November 1924, is a marvellous expression of Modernism. We get Freud, Darwin, Magritte and Jarry as oblique cultural references but most of all we get a Czech, or rather Moravian, sensibility which is both cartoonish and psychologically astute.
First performed in Vienna in 1782, the plot of this Mozart opera seems very silly. However, this is a provocative opera for our times. It is beautiful, funny and disturbing.
To attempt to put on stage the events of 9/11 you might feel, is an act either of supreme folly or chutzpah. In Davies, Drake and Warner’s hands however, it is neither, only artistry, seamless precision and the worst of imagined personal moments recharged with fresh meaning. Lives literally held in suspension between worlds made transcendent. Quite wonderful.
John Adams’ latest opera, with libretto and production by Peter Sellars, is an episodic and experimental take on elements of the New Testament which mixes texts from radical liberation theology to parts of the King James’ Bible.
Fiona Shaw’s first impulse was to give Mozart’s famous comic opera a comic slant. But she concedes that Beaumarchais’ original text, set before the French Revolution, had to stay in the eighteenth century.
This is the most surprising of nineteenth century operas. It’s a Western! The work is based on David Belasco’s drama of the same name though Puccini’s original was in Italian and known as La Fanciulla del West with libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini. Belasco’s 1905 stage play was a hit but the 1910 […]
The première of Verdi’s Otello at ENO was also a celebration of director David Alden’s 30th anniversary at the opera house. American lyric soprano is a rich-voiced Desdemona making her UK debut. Australian heldentenor, Stuart Skelton is a charismatic Otello who is matched outstandingly by Jonathan Summers’ cool Iago. This is a magnificent production.
The War. Edinburgh International Festival. Chekhov International Theatre Festival. SounDrama Studio. Julia Pascal.
This epic work is based on Richard Aldington’s Death of a Hero, Nicolai Gumilyov’s Notes of a Cavalry Officer and Homer’s The Iliad. Edinburgh was given the world premiere of this amazing spectacle.
Romeo Castellucci at Brussels’ La Monnaie (De Munt in Dutch) opera house takes a real-life sufferer of locked-in syndrome and turns her into the protagonist of Ophee et Eurydice (adapted by Hector Berlioz from Gluck).
‘Hansel and Gretel’ emerges here as a clever, imaginative, splendidly sung and designed festive bauble, suitable for all the family. And in a different key altogether, Swedish gothic and vampirism meets sweet innocence in the outstandingly beautiful and moving ‘let the right one in’.