Hugo Shirley

ENO’s The Girl of the Golden West is irresistibly seductive

11 October 2014 9:00 am

Puccini’s La fanciulla del West is, one suspects, one of those works that modern audiences struggle to keep a straight…

Robo-Tell hits Welsh National Opera

27 September 2014 9:00 am

Is there a fundamental, insuperable problem with staging Rossini’s Guillaume Tell on a budget, without the resources to conjure up…

Mariinsky’s Les Troyens — a bad night for Berlioz and Edinburgh

6 September 2014 9:00 am

I wonder whether grand opéra really takes war as seriously as this year’s Edinburgh Festival wanted it to. These vast…

The small rewards of small-scale opera

30 August 2014 9:00 am

Perhaps I should come clean straightaway and admit that, despite the fact that OperaUpClose is about to celebrate its fifth…

Strauss and Hofmannsthal deserve better from the Salzburg Festival

16 August 2014 9:00 am

The Salzburg Festival’s reputation might largely be one of cultural conservatism, but it made an impressive commitment to new works…

Anja Harteros (Leonora) and Vitalij Kowaljow (Marchese di Calatrava) in‘La forza del destino’

Jonas Kaufmann's illness, a muddled production – nothing can stop Bavarian State Opera's La forza del destino

9 August 2014 9:00 am

Rather than brave the boos and the first reprise of Frank Castorf’s half-hearted Ring at Bayreuth, I decided to pay…

I can’t see the point of Glyndebourne’s La traviata

26 July 2014 9:00 am

One of the highlights of last year’s Glyndebourne Festival was the revival of Richard Jones’s Falstaff, spruced up and invigorated…

Buxton Festival sticks its neck out with two rarities by Dvorak and Gluck

19 July 2014 9:00 am

Dvorak’s The Jacobin and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, the two operas that opened this year’s Buxton Festival, are both relative…

Royal Opera's Maria Stuarda: pathos and nobility from Joyce DiDonato, lazy nonsense from the directors

12 July 2014 9:00 am

London is lucky to have heard Joyce DiDonato at the height of her powers in two consecutive seasons. The American…

Barbie doll: Kristine Opolais as Manon

Manon Lescaut: Puccini’s Anna Nicole?

28 June 2014 9:00 am

This season has already seen Manon Lescaut appear in several different operatic guises across the UK, but it was Covent…

Clive Bayley in his guise as knight-errant

Tilting at metronomes: Massenet's Don Quichotte opens at Grange Park Opera

21 June 2014 9:00 am

To suggest that the ageing Jules Massenet identified himself with the title character of his Don Quichotte is nothing new…

The busyness of it all is tiring: it feels like not just one West End musical, but several crammed together on to the same stage

Terry Gilliam turns to eye-watering excess for his staging of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini

14 June 2014 8:00 am

Operas about artists are not rare. However — perhaps for obvious reasons — those artists tend to be musicians, singers,…

Towering but vulnerable presence: John Tomlinson as Moses

WNO's production of Schoenberg's Moses und Aron is an overwhelming experience – but make sure you close your eyes

31 May 2014 9:00 am

On paper, Moses und Aron might seem intractable and abstract: a 12-tone score setting a libretto that meditates on God,…

Octavian (Tara Erraught), Baron Ochs (Lars Woldt) and the Marschallin (Kate Royal)

A Rosenkavalier without a heart ain’t much of a Rosenkavalier

24 May 2014 9:00 am

In all its minute details, Der Rosenkavalier is rooted in a painstakingly stylised version of Rococo Vienna that, paradoxically, is…

Beguiling musicality: Sébastien Guèze as Rodolfo and Gabriela Istoc as Mimì in Opera North’s ‘La Bohème’

Two Mimi-Rodolfos at Opera North who go from nought to frisky very believably

17 May 2014 9:00 am

Purists might have winced at Opera North’s advertisement for its latest revival of La Bohème. ‘If you see one musical…

More woe for Oedipus

10 May 2014 9:00 am

I had high hopes for Julian Anderson’s first opera, Thebans. Premièred at the Coliseum last Saturday, it promised to mark…

Britten’s worldwide reputation is enhanced in Lyon

26 April 2014 9:00 am

One of the proudest boasts to come from Britten HQ in Aldeburgh during the composer’s anniversary last year was that…

Bryn Terfel as Méphistophélès and Simon Keenlyside as Valentin in ‘Faust

Bryn Terfel lords it over 'Faust' magnificently

19 April 2014 9:00 am

There’s a great deal to disapprove of in Gounod’s Faust. It breaks down a pillar of western literature and whisks…

Amanda Roocroft as the Duchess in ‘Powder Her Face’

Mixed results from the ENO and ROH in their seasonal away games

12 April 2014 9:00 am

It’s been a spring tradition for several years now for English National Opera to present small-scale productions in various venues…

Handelian pleasures vs modern head-scratchers

29 March 2014 9:00 am

Opera seems almost always to have been acutely concerned with its own future. These days this is most often manifested…

The Royal Opera House's Die Frau ohne Schatten – a dream solution to Strauss’s problem opera?

22 March 2014 9:00 am

If ever an opera was weighed down by its creators’ joint ambition, it is Die Frau ohne Schatten. Richard Strauss…

Smitten: Jason Bridges (Armand) and Sarah Tynan (Manon) in ‘Boulevard Solitude’

Opera's fallen women

15 March 2014 9:00 am

Opera’s grim fascination with ‘fallen women’ — as Welsh National Opera has called its latest mini-season — lies largely in…

Clean-voiced and suave: Mark Wilde as the balladeer Jonny Inkslinger in‘Paul Bunyan’

Why is Tippett's King Priam so difficult to love?

1 March 2014 9:00 am

The difference between lovable, likable and admirable is perhaps more significant in the operatic world than in other artistic spheres…

Leipzig and Dresden are both staging Elektra. Which city wins?

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Yet more performances of Elektra, Richard Strauss’s setting of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s ramped-up, neurosis-riddled 1903 reworking of Sophocles, are unlikely…