Elizabeth lines: ‘Gloriana’ at English National Opera

ENO’s one-off presentation of Britten’s coronation opera – originally programmed as a platinum jubilee-year special – was destined to become a powerfully significant evening. A double tribute: not only to the late monarch herself, but to the ENO company itself – still very much alive, defying its would-be executioners by putting its heart and soul…

An excellent cast powers ENO’s Tosca

English National Opera’s new season opened with Tosca which is always guaranteed to draw a crowd. Puccini’s opera has much to commend it, notably a lush and inventive musical score, unforgettable arias, and moments of sometimes shocking drama. There were problems on opening night at the Coliseum. When Annilese Miskimmons, ENO’s Artistic Director, announced that…

UK Premiere of ‘Little Women’ at Opera Holland Park

‘Little Women’ at Opera Holland Park 2022.  Back stage, Harry Thatcher and Kitty Whately as John Brooke and Meg March. Front stage, Frederick Jones and Charlotte Badham as Laurie and Jo March. Sisterly love has rarely been treated in opera, or in the arts in general, with the exception of Chekhov’s plays. Mark Adamo, composer…

Thrilling Staging of Puccini’s Le Villi at Opera Holland Park

Every year Opera Holland Park presents a new double bill of short opera. It’s a neat endeavour as it introduces audiences to opera that might not otherwise have seen the light of performance. In the hands of new creatives, singers and musicians, the bite-size works, lasting no more than forty-five minutes, give interesting insights into…

Young Artists provide a compelling Onegin at Opera Holland Park

Opera Holland Park has been mentoring young singers and conductors for a decade now and its efforts to nurture burgeoning talent continue to bear fruit.  Young Artists performing Tchaikovsky’s Onegin impressed this week, the principal singers providing intriguing insights into the roles of Tatiana, Olga, Lensky and Onegin. Rory Musgrave’s Onegin in particular drew attention. For his…

Inspired Casting for Opera Holland Park’s ‘Onegin’

When Eugene Onegin premiered in Moscow in 1879, Tchaikovksy was aware of the weight of expectation around his new opera which had been directly inspired by Alexander Pushkin’s epic poem of the same title. Pushkin was Russia’s Shakespeare – a god. Would his dramatisation of Pushkin’s masterpiece come off well? Pushkin was long gone by then, having…

Handmaid’s Tale – Opera For Our Time

When Margaret Atwood’s published The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985 it caused a stir. In the author’s dystopian novel, young women who have transgressed the societal rules of authoritarian republic Gilead, are sentenced to spend the rest of their child-bearing years producing offspring for childless couples.  You don’t need to look very far to understand where Canadian Atwood got her…

Body horror: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, at English National Opera

This icy, subtle production presents Margaret Atwood’s terrifying vision with a clear-sighted, almost detached precision. Poul Ruders’s score gets under your skin, amping up the tension as events come to a head, while the heart-breaking performances relentlessly deal the emotional blows. Opera as commentary, catharsis and conscience: brilliantly done. * ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ the opera,…

Così Fan Tutte in Coney Island: All the Fun of the Fair with Dazzling Mozart Score

Così Fan Tutte is arguably one of the world’s most loved operas.  Librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte and Mozart chart the emotional journey of two couples; Fiordiligi and Ferrando, Dorabella (Fiordiligi’s sister) and Guglielmo. They are engaged to be married and still have everything to learn about love. Don Alfonso, self-made philosopher, bets with the two fiancés, that…