Opera

‘I want every production I do to be the funniest’: an interview with Cal McCrystal

15 June 2024 9:00 am

There are certain things that you don’t expect at the opera. Laughter, for example. Proper laughter, that is; not the…

Shiny, raunchy, heartless spectacular: Platée, at Garsington, reviewed

8 June 2024 9:00 am

Fast times on Mount Olympus. Jupiter has been shagging around again and now his wife Juno has bailed on their…

When Fauré played The Spectator

1 June 2024 9:00 am

Gabriel Fauré composed his song cycle La bonne chanson in 1894 for piano and voice. But he added string parts…

Bristol’s new concert hall is extremely fine

25 May 2024 9:00 am

Bristol has a new concert hall, and it’s rather good. The transformation of the old Colston Hall into the Bristol…

Across Britain punters are lapping up ultra-trad opera – the Arts Council will be disgusted

11 May 2024 9:00 am

Another week at the opera, another evening with an elitist and ethically dubious art form. I love it; you love…

You could have built a tent city from all the red chinos: Aci by the River reviewed

27 April 2024 9:00 am

The Thames cruise for which Handel composed his Water Music in 1717 famously went on until around 4 a.m. The…

Baffling and vile: ETO’s Manon Lescaut reviewed

20 April 2024 9:00 am

In 1937, John Barbirolli took six pieces by Henry Purcell and arranged them for an orchestra of strings, horns and…

We have lost an unforgettable teacher and one of the greatest living critics

20 April 2024 9:00 am

Tanner, the critic RICHARD BRATBY Michael Tanner (1935-2024), who died earlier this month, had such a vital mind and stood…

Can everyone please shut up about Maria Callas?

4 November 2023 9:00 am

Rupert Christiansen on the cult of Callas

Juicy solution to the Purcell problem: Opera North’s Masque of Might reviewed

21 October 2023 9:00 am

Another week, another attempt to solve the Purcell problem. There’s a problem? Well, yes, if you consider that a composer…

ENO’s Peter Grimes shows a major international company operating at full artistic power

30 September 2023 9:00 am

In David Alden’s production of Peter Grimes, the mob assembles before the music has even started – silhouetted at the…

Travels in Italy with the teenage Mozart

30 September 2023 9:00 am

Jane Glover follows the rapturous Wolfgang around Venice, Bologna, Florence and Naples on three journeys that would change the young composer’s life

Every crumb of Kurtag’s music is a feast: Endgame, at the Proms, reviewed

9 September 2023 9:00 am

The fun starts early in Beckett’s Endgame. Within minutes of opening his mouth, blind bully Hamm decides to starve his…

A euphoric meat-and-two-veg programme: Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich/Paavo Jarvi, at the Proms, reviewed

9 September 2023 9:00 am

We used to call it a ‘meat and two veg’ programme, back in my concert planning days: the reliable set…

Doesn’t get better than this: The Threepenny Opera, at Edinburgh International Festival, reviewed

2 September 2023 9:00 am

It’s the Edinburgh International Festival, and Barrie’s back in town. Once, Edinburgh was pretty much the only place that you…

A brilliantly cruel Cosi and punkish Petrushka but the Brits disappoint: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence reviewed

26 August 2023 9:00 am

Aix is an odd place. It should be charming, with its dishevelled squares, Busby Berkeley-esque fountains, pretty ochres and pinks.…

Imagine a school concert hosted by Bela Lugosi: Budapest Festival Orchestra and Ivan Fischer, at the Proms, reviewed

19 August 2023 9:00 am

‘Audience Choice’ was the promise at the Budapest Festival Orchestra’s Sunday matinee Prom, and come on – who could resist…

The future of opera – I hope: WNO’s Candide reviewed

29 July 2023 9:00 am

Bernstein’s Candide is the operetta that ought to work, but never quite does. Voltaire’s featherlight cakewalk through human misery, set…

The West has much to learn from Hungarian culture

29 July 2023 9:00 am

Hungarian culture is living through a golden age, says Igor Toronyi-Lalic, and the West has much to learn from it

Was Vera Brittain really this insufferable? Buxton Festival’s The Land of Might-Have-Been reviewed

15 July 2023 9:00 am

‘Ring out your bells for me, ivory keys! Weave out your spell for me, orchestra please!’ It’s lush stuff, the…

To die for: Grange Park Opera’s Tristan & Isolde reviewed

17 June 2023 9:00 am

There are a lot of corpses on stage at the end of Charles Edwards’s production of Tristan & Isolde for…

The final scenes are a knockout: Glyndebourne’s Don Giovanni reviewed

10 June 2023 9:00 am

Are you supposed to laugh at the end of Don Giovanni? Audiences often do, and they did at the end…