Opera

Clear, complex and gripping: Opera North's Rigoletto reviewed

29 January 2022 9:00 am

Say what you like about that Duke of Mantua, but he’s basically an OK sort of bloke. A bit of…

Not pleasant, and not in tune, but unarguably compelling: Royal Opera's Nabucco reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Nabucco, said Giuseppe Verdi, ‘was born under a lucky star’. It was both his last throw of the dice and…

A booster shot of sunlight: Unsuk Chin's new violin concerto reviewed

15 January 2022 9:00 am

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra began the year with a world première. Unsuk Chin’s Second Violin Concerto…

40 per cent sublime, 60 per cent ridiculous: ENO's The Valkyrie reviewed

27 November 2021 9:00 am

It’s the final scene of The Valkyrie and Wotan is wearing cords. They’re a sensible choice for a hard-working deity:…

Hockney’s Rake’s Progress remains one of the supreme achievements

20 November 2021 9:00 am

With Glyndebourne’s The Rake’s Progress, the show starts with David Hockney’s front cloth. The colour, the ingenuity, the visual bravura:…

This is how G&S should be staged: ENO's HMS Pinafore reviewed

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Until 1881, HMS Pinafore was the second-longest-running show in West End history. Within a year of its première it had…

Very much NSFW: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet/Quatuor Danel at Wigmore Hall reviewed

30 October 2021 9:00 am

‘Drammatico’, wrote César Franck over the opening of his Piano Quintet, and you’d better believe he meant it. The score…

We'll be talking about Royal Opera's Jenufa two decades from now

16 October 2021 9:00 am

Leos Janacek cared about words. He’d hang about central Brno, notebook in hand, eavesdropping on conversations and trying to capture…

Hits you where it hurts: Welsh National Opera's Madam Butterfly reviewed

9 October 2021 9:00 am

‘It’s generally agreed that in contemporary practice, this opera proposes significant ethical and cultural problems,’ says the director Lindy Hume…

A terrific night of opera: Zanetto/Orfeo ed Euridice, Arcola Theatre, reviewed

18 September 2021 9:00 am

For a one-hit composer, we hear rather a lot of Pietro Mascagni. His reputation rests on his 1890 debut Cavalleria…

Neither Tristan nor Isolde quite convinced: Glyndebourne's Tristan und Isolde reviewed

21 August 2021 9:00 am

Glyndebourne is nothing if not honest. ‘In response to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions our 2021 performances of Tristan und Isolde…

Springtime for Putin: Grange Park's The Life and Death of Alexander Litvinenko reviewed

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Alexander Litvinenko lies in a London hospital, dying of polonium poisoning. That photograph from 2006 haunts the memory: the medical…

A short history of millionaire composers

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Art is supposed to emerge from poverty but extreme wealth does not preclude talent, as the history of composers proves. By Richard Bratby

Zips along with enormous vim: Malcolm Arnold's The Dancing Master reviewed

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Malcolm Arnold composed his opera The Dancing Master in 1952 for BBC television. It never appeared, the problem being the…

Comedy genius: Garsington Opera's Le Comte Ory reviewed

17 July 2021 9:00 am

Melons. An absolutely cracking pair of melons, right there on a platter: the centrepiece of the banquet that the chaste,…

The finest Falstaff you’ll see this summer

10 July 2021 9:00 am

Comedy’s a funny thing. No, seriously, the business of making people laugh is as fragile, as mercurial as cryptocurrency —…

You'll shrug where you should marvel: Garsington's Amadigi reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

When you think of Handel’s Amadigi (in so far as anyone thinks about the composer’s rarely staged, also-ran London score…

Wow, this is good: Grange Park Opera's Ivan the Terrible reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

There are worse inconveniences than having to wear a face mask to the opera. But there’s one consequence that hadn’t…

Lush, elegant and vivid: Der Rosenkavalier at Garsington reviewed

12 June 2021 9:00 am

At the turning point of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Der Rosenkavalier, all the clocks stop. Octavian has arrived…

World-class music, heavily symbolic staging: Glyndebourne's Katya Kabanova reviewed

5 June 2021 9:00 am

At the first night of Glyndebourne Festival 2021 there was relief and joyful expectation as Gus Christie made his speech…

Where to start with the music of Ethel Smyth

17 April 2021 9:00 am

I’m reminded of an old Irish joke. A tourist approaches a local for directions to Dublin. The local, after much…

The two composers who defined British cinema also wrote inspired operas

20 February 2021 9:00 am

It’s my new lockdown ritual. Switch on the telly, cue up the menu and scroll down to where the vintage…

Another cracking take on the opera film: Marquee TV’s Turn of the Screw reviewed

30 January 2021 9:00 am

I’m still waiting for the Royal Opera to step up. Nearly a year into the Covid crisis and what do…

British opera companies and orchestras must start investing in native talent

23 January 2021 9:00 am

Brexit and Covid have pushed us out of the common musical market and thrown us back on homegrown sprouts. Good, says Norman Lebrecht

Most artistic careers end in failure. Why does no one talk about this?

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Rosie Millard dispels the myth that persistence is always rewarded