Reviews Index
David Butt Philip & Anne Sophie Duprels

Isabeau @ Opera Holland Park, London

by Sam Smith

One of the delights of Opera Holland Park is the opportunities it presents to hear rarely performed works from Italian composers whose own considerable talents…



Prom 6: BBC SO / Oramo @ Royal Albert Hall, London


It seems that this summer’s top nation is France – whether on the pitch or in the Proms Arena – and Wednesday night’s combination of...

Prom 1: BBC SO/Oramo @ Royal Albert Hall, London


The untimely death of Oliver Knussen last week was marked by an unannounced performance of his Flourish with Fireworks at the opening of the first...

Ariadne auf Naxos @ Longborough Festival Opera, Longborough


The Knight of the Burning Pestle broke the fourth wall, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg put musical convention and taste under the spotlight, and White Christmas...

Pushkin @ Grange Park Opera, West Horsley


Pushkin is such a revered figure in Russia that even the very idea of creating an opera about him was contentious. As librettist Marita Phillips...

Candide @ The Grange Festival, Alresford


With 2018 marking the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, London is well served by performances of the composer’s works. In February The Jazz at Lincoln...

Un Ballo in Maschera @ Grange Park Opera, West Horsley


The king is dead! But does anybody care? Rulers are supposed to have what Shakespeare calls ‘The king-becoming graces,’ but Stephen Medcalf’s production of Verdi’s...

The Skating Rink @ Garsington Opera, Wormsley


In storytelling terminology, a thriller is a piece in which the audience is led to believe that one thing is the case, when in reality...

Pelléas et Mélisande @ Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lewes


Pelléas et Mélisande is not predominantly plot-driven, but instead provides a ‘metaphysical’ exploration into various themes associated with change. As such, the scenes we witness...

La traviata @ Longborough Festival Opera, Longborough


There are, broadly speaking, two methods for updating operas from their original setting to another time and place. The first is to find a relevant...

The Abduction from the Seraglio @ The Grange Festival, Alresford


After his sensational Albert Herring for the Grange Festival in 2017, John Copley returns to direct one of his personal favourites; his view of the...

Capriccio @ Garsington Opera, Wormsley


Salieri’s ‘Prima la musica e poi la parole’­ – first the music, then the words – partnered Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor at its premiere in 1786,...

Kiss Me Kate @ Coliseum, London


Opera North’s 2015 staging of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, a co-production with Welsh National Opera that now comes to the London Coliseum, in many...

Bach: Mass in B minor @ St John’s Smith Square, London


The Tilford Bach Society is a busy and well-funded organisation that sponsors regular, historically informed performances of the music of Bach and his contemporaries in...

Falstaff @ Garsington Opera, Wormsley


A list of today’s great Falstaffs might include Ambrogio Maestri and Sir Bryn Terfel, but, judged by his performance in Bruno Ravella’s new production of...

Die Zauberflöte @ Garsington Opera, Wormsley


Mozart’s final opera, sung and played with the grandeur and sensitivity it requires, is always a sublime experience, able to survive whatever is thrown at...

Agrippina @ The Grange Festival, Alresford


There is nothing to equal the collaboration of real experts in their field, as The Grange Festival has demonstrated yet again with this stunning Agrippina...

Le nozze di Figaro @ Nevill Holt Opera, Market Harborough


These are exciting times for Nevill Holt Opera. This season sees the opening of its new 400-seat opera house, installed inside an historic stable block...

Der fliegende Holländer @ Longborough Festival Opera, Longborough


In the accompanying programme, Longborough Festival Opera’s Music Director Anthony Negus describes the changes that Wagner made to Der fliegende Holländer between 1841, when the...

La finta semplice @ Queen Elizabeth Hall, London


Although the weight of evidence suggests that, contrary to popular opinion, Mozart and Salieri were at the very least respectful rivals in the 1780s, this...

Oklahoma! @ Grange Park Opera, West Horsley


‘No gags, no girls, no chance!’ was columnist Walter Winchell’s verdict on Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! when it premiered in 1943. He might have more...