Opera

Powerful and upsetting: Pelléas et Mélisande at the Barbican reviewed

16 January 2016 9:00 am

There are some operas, as there are some people, that it is impossible to establish a settled relationship with, and…

Conductor and orchestra played as if in love: Royal Opera’s Eugene Onegin reviewed

9 January 2016 9:00 am

It’s scene five of Kasper Holten’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Michael Fabiano’s Lensky is alone with a snow-covered…

Royal Opera’s Cavalleria rusticana isn’t nearly vulgar enough

12 December 2015 9:00 am

How often do you get a chance to see two operas by Leoncavallo in the same city in the same…

A devastating Jenufa - if you could hear it

5 December 2015 9:00 am

About 15 minutes into act one of Jenufa, the student in the next seat leaned over to her companions and…

Anna Devin as Alcina and Nick Pritchard as Ruggiero in ‘La Liberazione di Ruggiero’ at Brighton Early Music Festival

Has there ever been a better time to be a lover of Baroque opera?

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Time was when early music was a 6 p.m. concert, Baroque began with Bach and ended with Corelli’s Christmas Concerto,…

Morgen und Abend: the kind of opera that gives opera a bad name

21 November 2015 9:00 am

The Royal Opera House seemed nervous about Georg Friedrich Haas’s world première Morgen und Abend. They sent out a pdf…

ENO’s production of ‘The Force of Destiny’ has a large, fidgety set and a projection of a vast horse’s head

That Force of Destiny isn’t a great evening is the fault of Verdi not ENO

14 November 2015 9:00 am

The Force of Destiny, ENO’s latest offering to its ‘stakeholders’, as its audiences are now called thanks to Cressida Pollock,…

Northern Ireland Opera’s Turandot will fill you with awe and revulsion

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Chords as bright and sweet as pomegranate seeds burst and spill in Turandot, a splinter of bitterness at their centre.…

Going ape: Bertie Carvel as Yank

Glyndebourne caters to the lower-middle classes not past-it toffs

7 November 2015 9:00 am

What is Glyndebourne? A middle-aged Bullingdon. That’s a common view: a luxury bun fight for past-it toffs who glug champagne,…

I doubt Goethe intended Werther's sorrows to be as unremitting as this

24 October 2015 9:00 am

There are some things the French do better than everyone else. Cheese, military defeats and extra-marital affairs are a given,…

Please let's have more musicals like this Kiss Me, Kate at Opera North

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Opera North’s new production of Cole Porter’s masterwork Kiss Me, Kate has been so widely and justly praised that I…

'A glittering concentrate of fury in her dark eyes': Patricia Racette as Katerina Ismailova in 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk'

Thank god for bored wives: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the ENO reviewed

3 October 2015 9:00 am

‘Kiss me, Sergei! Kiss me hard! Kiss me until the icons fall and split!’ sings Katerina Ismailova, adulterous antiheroine of…

Margit Carstensen as Petra, downing gin and grovelling on her deep-pile carpet, in ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s films verge on the incomprehensible — but that doesn’t stop him being a genius

3 October 2015 8:00 am

London’s Goethe-Institut has a two-month season of films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder (whose 70th anniversary it’s celebrating), but only five…

As good a treatment of a Bellini opera as we are likely to see: WNO's I puritani reviewed

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Bellini belongs to that category of not-quite-great operatic composers whose works are also very difficult to perform adequately, and don’t…

Magic in the air: Berlin Comic Opera’s exuberant ‘Magic Flute’ at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre

The Magic Flute has never made more cartoonish sense - an Edinburgh Festival roundup

5 September 2015 9:00 am

London may cry foul over Hamlet’s misplaced to-be-ing and not-to-be-ing but Edinburgh is in raptures over a Magic Flute which…

As with so many Strauss operas, Daphne's one redeeming feature is its end

29 August 2015 9:00 am

Richard Strauss’s Daphne is one of the operas he wrote during the excruciatingly long Indian summer of his composing life,…

Animal magic: François Piolino as the Frog in ‘L’enfant et les sortilèges’

Glyndebourne’s Ravel double bill comes close to perfection

15 August 2015 9:00 am

When I saw the first performance of this production of Ravel’s two operas at Glyndebourne three years ago, I thought…

Why the City might yet miss stroppy regulator Martin Wheatley

25 July 2015 9:00 am

A City insider at last month’s Mansion House dinner told me the Financial Conduct Authority had become ‘a bit of…

Christopher Turner as Artemidoro, the romantic lead transformed into a raving hippy in Trofonio’s ‘cave’

Don’t listen to Amadeus - this Salieri opera is better than Mozart

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Magical transformations are a commonplace of opera. We see our heroes turned into animals, trees, statues; witness wild beasts turned…

When is a rape not a rape? Fiona Shaw's Rape of Lucretia at Glyndebourne reviewed

11 July 2015 9:00 am

When is a rape not a rape? It’s an unsettling question — far more so than anything offered up by…

The gang rape was the least offensive thing about Royal Opera's new William Tell

4 July 2015 9:00 am

There’s no such thing as a tasteful rape scene — or there certainly shouldn’t be. It’s an act of grossest…

The finest Tristan since Siegfried Jerusalem

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Which of Wagner’s mature dramas is the most challenging, for performers and spectators? The one you’re seeing at the moment,…

How very English: picnics at Glyndebourne

Country house picnics (with some ace opera attached)

20 June 2015 9:00 am

I stole a blanket last night. Rather a nice one, in fact. I feel bad about it, of course, but…

Hans Werner Henze: the Ed Miliband of opera

20 June 2015 9:00 am

We opera critics love gazing into crystal balls. We’re particularly good at discovering Ed Milibands and backing them to the…

Lunch with a claret fit for gods, heroes and David Cameron

20 June 2015 9:00 am

I cannot remember a jollier lunch. There are two brothers, Sebastian and Nicholas Payne, both practical epicureans. They have made…