Opera and Classical Reviews
Royal Opera House

Coppélia: Royal Ballet @ Royal Opera House, London

by Dave Paxton

The Coppélia of Ninette de Valois was first seen in 1954 at the Royal Opera House, and has not dated one ounce. The apparently cardboard, dollhouse evocation of a German peasant village has been carefully restaged by Anthony…



The Phantom of the Opera @ Royal Opera House, London

by Dave Paxton

Rupert Julian‘s 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera is a strange little thing. When compared to the horror masterpieces of the time – chiefly FW Murnau‘s Nosferatu and Robert Wiene‘s Cabinet of Dr Caligari...

Phases: The Music of Steve Reich (2) @ Barbican Theatre and St Luke’s Education C...

by Ben Hogwood

A minimalist marathon.Not a prospect that might immediately set themouth watering, but one that in reality proved to be an utterly absorbingseries of concerts, a fitting 70th birthday tribute to a man increasinglyrevered as one...

Orfeo: English Touring Opera @ Hackney Empire, London

by Simon Thomas

English Touring Opera’s enterprising Baroque Festival Tour has got off to a workmanlike start with a production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, one of the first operas written. The strengths of the evening are some fine ensemble...

Don Giovanni @ Hungarian State Opera, Budapest

by Agnes Kory

Though currently struggling with managerial problems, visits to the Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest represent excellent artistic value for money. For the British opera lover, seat prices will feel like manna from heaven. Opera...

Donizetti: La fille du Regiment – Genova/Frizza

by Dominic McHugh

For once, here’s a DVD that lives up to the hype surrounding it in almost every way. Donizetti’s opra comique, The Daughter of the Regiment, comes to Covent Garden in a new production in January,...

Bird of Night @ Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House, London

by Simon Thomas

Bird of Night, the Royal Opera’s first commissioned work by a female composer, is a gentle and charming tale based on Caribbean folk poetry. The production, brilliantly staged by Irina Brown, is full of unexpected visual...

Äida: Nashville Opera @ Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Nashville

by Zan Buckner

Verdi’s Äida is as known for the spectacle of Act II’s triumphant parade scene as it is for its story or music. The Nashville Opera’s production didn’t stint on spectacle with dancers from the Nashville...

BBCSO/Jiri Belohlavek @ Barbican Hall, London

by Dave Paxton

If there was one reason to catch this concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Jir Belohlvek, it was the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Hojoki (An Account of My Hut).The piece sets to music...

Hall

by Dominic McHugh

It’s ten years since the Hall moved into the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, and six since Mark Elder became their Music Director.The past decade has seen an overwhelming increase in the quality and status of...

Radical Masses: Vasari Singers @ St Martin in the Fields, London

by Dave Paxton

Will Todd‘s Mass in Blue was premiered in The Barbican in 2004, and is released on CD this month.To celebrate the release, the Vasari Singers under Jeremy Backhouse performed the piece as part of a...

LSO/Colin Davis @ Barbican Hall, London

by Simon Thomas

The second concert in the LSO’s new season at the Barbican saw Colin Davis conduct a programme of three works, all by composers he’s closely associated with: Berlioz, Mozart and Sibelius. In the second half...

Razumovsky Ensemble @ Wigmore Hall, London

by William Norris

The chamber music of Schubert and Mendelssohn is among the finest in the repertoire. With ‘cellist Oleg Kogan and friends on hand to perform two of the composers’ greatest works for the genre, it was...

LSO/Sir Colin Davis @ Barbican Hall, London

by Dominic McHugh

This concert was a mixture of beginnings and ends: it was both the first concert of the London Symphony Orchestra’s 2006-7 season, and Colin Davis’ last season-opening as the orchestra’s Principal Conductor.And on the whole,...

The Jewel Box: Bampton Classical Opera @ Westonbirt School, Gloucestershire

by Agnes Kory

Bampton Classical Opera deserves huge praise for putting on this new Mozart opera during the much-publicised 250th anniversary year of Mozart’s birth. Indeed, I would be hard pressed to think of any other celebratory event...

Vienna Philharmonic/Gergiev @ Barbican Hall, London

by Agnes Kory

The Vienna Philharmonic is very highly regarded, indeed its prestige might be second to none. I was looking forward to a concert of perfection, but my expectation was only partially fulfilled. The orchestra’s two day...

Prom 73: Last Night of the Proms @ Royal Albert Hall, London

by Dave Paxton

After standing through 70-odd concerts, the Promenaders deserve a party. If Mark Elder managed one thing on Saturday, it was to maintain the atmosphere of frivolity throughout while presenting an evening of the highest musical...

Prom 72: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Sir Charles Mackerras @ Royal Al...

by Dave Paxton

Barring the Last Night, Prom 72 is the culmination of this year’s season. There is hardly a more appropriate way to end than with Mozart, who also started the Proms back in July. The choice...

The Assassin Tree @ Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House, London

by Dave Paxton

The Assassin Tree is a new commission with music by Stuart MacRae and libretto by Simon Armitage. All boded well for its premiere in Edinburgh last month, but it received distinctly mixed reviews. The London...

Prom 70: BBC Symphony Orchestra/ Bernard Haitink: Mahler @ Royal Albert Hall, London

by Simon Thomas

With the imminent end of the 2006 Proms season and the apparent resurrection of Summer, Bernard Haitink conducted a stately and at times sombre performance of Mahler’s monumental Second Symphony with the BBC Symphony Orchestra....

Prom 67: Philadelphia Orchestra – Christoph Eschenbach @ Royal Albert Hall, London

by Ben Hogwood

Against the odds, notably baggage restrictions and an unexpected fire inthe artists’ bar, Christoph Eschenbach led the PhiladelphiaOrchestra in the second of their scheduled Proms, a titanic pairing ofultimately triumphant fifth symphonies. Both received wonderfully...