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REVIEW: Opera: Orpheus in the Underworld @ ENO

October 10, 2019

Lez Brotherston’s costume designs squirm with delight across Lizzie Clachan’s set is great fun, starting off worryingly school play like before exploding into a daft Arcadian swimming pool party on a Tarantino Cruise ship and then plunging into a seedy Soho peepshow world of London in the 1950’s.

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OPERA REVIEW: La bohème @ENO

December 2, 2018

The end, swift, inevitable and so terribly comes as it must and leaves everyone awkward, struggling with the death of Mimi, filled with regret and angst but my mind turned to Musetta, the only one who really cares for Mimi, who looks out for her, this is the real triumph of this production. To bring a focus not only to Mini and Musetta, but also the men’s inability to deal with them as equals. It’s pure understated glory is a wonderfully released production of Puccini.

A beautiful, thrilling, emotionally convincing evening in the presence of a splendid cast, and tremendous music, the ENO at its best.

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OPERA REVIEW: Porgy and Bess @ENO

October 18, 2018

Director James Robinson’s authentic, charming and emotionally connective production has managed that most marvelous of operatic tricks, Robins has presented us with a classic, done in a classic way. Un-fiddled with, authentic but manages with understatedly magnificent shift of focus to give us a wholly relevant and beautifully faithful production of this Gershwin Opera. I left enchanted.

This is an exceptional, lyrical, beautiful production of Gershwin’s classic opera and I’d urge you to go along and see it. Book now!

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REVIEW OPERA: Salomé @ ENO

October 4, 2018

By avoiding real gore and giving us my little decapitated pony cartoon gooey gore we are forced to confront our own desires, our own expectations and here director Adena Jacobs’s new production for English National Opera has done something interesting.  He’s given Salomé back her dignity, twisted, death obsessed, vain and impulsive she may be, but here she’s in control of it all.  The others are all her toys, to play with, pull apart, or avoid being played with. She’s defiant and threatening, abused and abusive, swinging her aluminium baseball bat, making it clear she’s as much pitcher as catcher. It’s all about the gaze in the end, the ones not given and the ones stolen without permission. She’s the one to decide who gets satisfied and if it’s not to be her, then none of us will get any.

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Check Mate: Chess @The Coliseum, London

Craig Hanlon-Smith May 2, 2018

THE history of the stage musical Chess is as chequered as its current set design at London’s Coliseum. A successful stint in the West End from 1986 to 1989 was long overshadowed by a Broadway disastrous run of two months following vast rewrites as US producers insisted that the American must beat the Russian at the end of Act One, and not as the story originally dictated.

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OPERA REVIEW: Iolanthe @ENO

February 19, 2018

Iolanthe  English National Opera This all new production of Iolanthe has a different director Cal McCrystal from the ENO G&S smash hit Pirates of Penzance, but looks like being as huge a success as that was. McCrystal – who is newish to opera – plays it straight, proper Gilbert and Sullivan and this is a wise mood as […]

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OPERA REVIEW: Satyagraha @ENO

February 5, 2018

Visually it’s astonishing, blending and weaving itself with an endless sense of movement, representing the public support for Gandhi in the printed press. I was transfixed as the second part rose to its crescendo and with the projections, movement of actors, changing lighting effects and full of force of voice and music from the singers at the front of the stage. This was opera at its best.

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OPERA REVIEW: Marnie @ENO

November 27, 2017

Daughter. Liar. Wife. Thief. She has been running for so long, no one knows the real Marnie, least of all herself.
A world premiere opera from composer Nico Muhly, with a libretto by Nicholas Wright, Marnie is based on the novel by Winston Graham although alludes to the Hitchcock film. It examines the cost of freedom, the limitations of forgiveness and the impossibility of escaping the past, in Muhly’s explosive music that is direct and powerful.

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REVIEW: Rodelinda @ENO

October 30, 2017

This is one of the best productions of Rodelinda I’ve seen and the strong Welsh contingent gives it a real Celtic flavour and strength, it’s a three and half hour thumper of a piece and might run over, but for me it could have gone on twice as long and got me all the way home to Brighton in state of Handelian Bliss.

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OPERA REVIEW: Aida @ENO

September 29, 2017

Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones gave us a real heroic Radamès, full and resounding and committed to the very end, he was wonderful although trapped behind his Gilbert and Sullivan epaulettes and wooed Latonia Moore’s Aida in the most convincing way, Morre was excellent, pure, fine and focused her humility and precision combined to give a fully engaging performance which help to it’s very last breath.  What a debut! Her acting is a refined as her singing.  Mezzo Michelle DeYoung was fine as Amneris although was dressed like a meringue in the first half and seemed uncomfortable with the clunky English translation but her cursing saw her open up and thrill the packed coliseum audience with her full throated wrath.

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