Reviews Index

Coraline @ Barbican Theatre, London

by Sam Smith

Coraline began life in 2002 as a novella by Neil Gaiman. Henry Selick directed an animated film version in 2009, and now it has received…



Skylark: Seven Words from the Cross @ St John’s Smith Square, London


The watchword for the American choral group Skylark’s concert on Good Friday was ‘compact’. Lasting only an hour, the concert (including encore) contained 17 pieces...

Bach, St John Passion @ St John’s, Smith Square, London


Is the St John Passion a deeply emotional experience, in which the soloists and choir aim to sear the narrative into our souls, or is...

The Marriage of Figaro @ Coliseum, London


Don Basilio cannot be played by the same person in The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro because one is a bass, the...

Harmonic Spiritual Theatre @ St John’s Smith Square, London


Ex Cathedra’s contribution to the St John’s Holy Week Festival might have been subtitled ‘I wouldn’t start from here’. The primary – slightly academic –...

Macbeth @ Royal Opera House, London


The 32-year old Verdi was taking a risk when he wrote Macbeth for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence in 1846. All of his operas...

Amadigi di Gaula @ St George’s, Hanover Square, London


While Opera Settecento has tended to focus on pasticcios at the London Handel Festival, with Elpidia being presented in 2016 and Ormisda last March, its...

Workers and the State @ Royal Festival Hall, London


The Soviet authorities’ ever-changing definition of what constituted ‘appropriate music’ still remains a mystery to unravel, but, for some odd reason, Reinhold Glière’s lush, tuneful...

Acis and Galatea @ St John’s, Smith Square, London


Acis and Galatea is not the easiest of pieces to present in the concert hall. Concert performances of Handel’s operas work best when there is...

Applausus @ Cadogan Hall, London


Although there was a BBC studio recording in 1958 featuring Joan Sutherland and Richard Lewis, Classical Opera’s presentation of Haydn’s cantata Applausus of 1768 represented...

Rinaldo @ Barbican Hall, London


Following Orlando in 2016 and Ariodante last May, The English Concert, directed from the harpsichord by Harry Bicket, brought Rinaldo of 1711 to the Barbican...

Giulio Cesare @ Bury Court Opera, Bentley


Founded in 2007 by John Coke and Suzanne Lemieux, Bury Court Opera brings a touch of that summer opera feeling to the final months of...

Denis Kozhukhin @ Wigmore Hall, London


The combination of music by Claude Debussy and George Gershwin in a piano programme feels a little odd, but it works. Both composers provide an...

Bernstein at 100 @ Barbican Hall, London


The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is one of the Barbican’s International Associates, and this concert of music by Leonard Bernstein, whose centenary falls this...

Dialogues des Carmélites @ Silk Street Theatre, London


Martin Lloyd-Evans’ production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama achieves an aesthetic that works perfectly with the tone...

Mosè in Egitto @ Cadogan Hall, London


Although not a total rarity, Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto is not so frequently performed today, especially in its original Italian version of 1818-19. If this...

Dead Man Walking @ Barbican Hall, London


Tuesday evening saw the UK première of a semi-staged production of Jake Heggie’s opera Dead Man Walking at the Barbican, as part of the ‘The...

War Requiem @ Royal Festival Hall, London


Britten’s War Requiem may have originally been composed to mark the opening of the new Coventry Cathedral in 1962, but there could have been no...

Damrau / Kaufmann / Deutsch @ Barbican Hall, London


Auch kleine Dinge können uns entzücken… the opening line of Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch – ‘Even small things can delight us’ – is the perfect...

Carmen @ Sydney Opera House, Sydney


‘Who is Carmen. What is she?’ Apologies for butchering Shakespeare, but it’s a question any director of Bizet’s perennial favourite should ask. At opposite ends...

Iolanthe @ Coliseum, London


It is a deceptively difficult task for a major opera house to pull off Gilbert and Sullivan, because it is so easy for any production...