La Forza del Destino was first performed in 1862. Not satisfied, Verdi carried on revising it for years, adding in 1869 the famous sinfonia overture that announces so many of the work’s overwhelming musical themes.
A deft revival in the play’s centenary year is a welcome chance to shed fresh light on Barrie’s fixation with the mismatch between the human potential and idealism represented by a child and the failed adult mess all around us.
Tchaikovsky said his aim in creating an opera from Pushkin’s supremely Russian yet universal drama of ill-fated love was to relay “ordinary, simple human feelings” as opposed to lavishly theatrical action.
To most Britons, P.G. Wodehouse is known as the creator of quaint, comic novels starring the blundering upper class twit Bertie Wooster and his astute valet Jeeves. He also contributed lyrics and stories to a wealth of musicals and his step great grandson, the opera singer Hal Cazalet, who as a child slept in a room beneath the Wodehouse archive, tells us he only got to know P.G. Wodehouse’s prose through the song lyrics.
Hansel and Gretel was originally written by The Brothers’ Grimm in 1912. It is a folk tale, showing how a brother and sister avoid being eaten alive by a witch in the gingerbread house. It is a tale that seems to foreshadow the Third Reich.
Wayne McGregor is the choreographer of the moment, the brainiest bloke on the block. That this must be so is confirmed by the scale of the recognition he receives, as much from rapturous young audiences as from battle-hardened institutions.
In the shocker “can-it-possibly-be-true?” atmosphere of tabloid journalism, this theatrical account of Murdoch’s acquisition of a moribund Sun newspaper and his appointment of the angry Albert “Larry” Lamb to bring it back to life tells us the notorious press baron’s grandfather was a minister in the Scottish church.