Reviews Index

Rita / Die Entführung aus dem Serail @ West Green House Opera, Hartley Wintney

by Sam Smith

Although Rita and Die Entführung aus dem Serail do not strictly constitute a double bill, because it is possible to book tickets for one without…



Prom 21: BBC National Orchestra of Wales / Xian Zhang @ Royal Albert Hall, London


The blue and gold flags were out in numbers for Sunday night’s European-flavoured Prom, which featured the European première of Sir James MacMillan’s A European...

La Clemenza di Tito @ Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lewes


“What infinite heart’s ease / Must kings neglect that private men enjoy?” (Henry V) Shakespeare’s comment on the anxiety of kingship seems to best characterize...

Silver Birch @ Garsington Opera, Wormsley


Roxanna Panufnik has chosen to describe her new creation Silver Birch as a people’s, rather than a community, opera in order to emphasise the extent...

Prom 15: The Songs Of Scott Walker (1967-70)


The BBC Proms is a one for anniversaries, and 2017 happens to be the 50th(ish) anniversary of the beginning of Scott Walker’s post-Walker Brothers solo...

Prom 13: Malcolm Sargent’s 500th Prom @ Royal Albert Hall, London


The celebration of Malcolm Sargent – after Henry Wood, the conductor whose input did most to shape the Proms as we know them – through...

Un ballo in maschera @ West Green House Opera, Hartley Wintney


Un ballo in maschera, West Green House Opera’s opening production in its 2017 season, once again proves the ability of this small and delightful summer...

Prom 9: Fidelio @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Shaw’s declaration that Fidelio is “…grimly irreconcilable with the glitter of the fashionable opera house” would suggest that a concert performance is the ideal format...

The Merchant of Venice @ Royal Opera House, London


André Tchaikowsky’s sole opera The Merchant of Venice was written in the years just before his death in 1982. He offered it to English National...

Prom 8: Celebrating John Williams @ Royal Albert Hall, London


John Williams apparently remarked about his soupy score for E.T. “It’s shameless; will we get away with it?” To which Spielberg replied “Movies are shameless.”...

Zazà @ Opera Holland Park, London


Although Opera Rara gave a concert performance of Zazà at the Barbican in 2015, and also recorded it for CD, it remains an opera by...

Kát’a Kabanová @ Opera Holland Park, London


This revival of Olivia Fuchs’ 2009 production of Kát’a Kabanová for Opera Holland Park proves extremely effective as it makes good use of the space...

Don Pasquale @ Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lewes


Although a touring version was seen either side of 2013, Mariame Clément’s production of Don Pasquale for Glyndebourne Festival Opera premiered in that year, and...

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


John Adams’ Harmonium is arguably the most well-known secular Minimalist choral work, and programming it as the final piece for the Proms’ first night was...

La Voix Humaine @ Kings Place, London


Francis Poulenc’s 1928 La Voix Humaine is an uncomfortable piece to listen to. It is essentially 50 minutes of recitative (which occasionally blossoms into moments...

Turandot @ Royal Opera House, London


When we hear the sounds of xylophones, gongs and tam-tams amidst the Western harmonies, it begs one important question. In Turandot was Puccini (and Alfano...

Il Turco in Italia @ Garsington Opera, Wormsley


After a Saturday night spent with Die Walküre at West Horsley, this bouncy, colourful production of one of the silliest operas in the repertoire was...

The Dream of Gerontius @ Royal Festival Hall, London


Although this English National Opera presentation of The Dream of Gerontius, performed away from the Coliseum in the Royal Festival Hall, officially constitutes a staging...

Fidelio @ Longborough Festival Opera, Longborough


In this production of Fidelio director Orpha Phelan and designer Madeleine Boyd, who won the award for Best Opera Production at the Royal Danish Opera...

Die Walküre @ Grange Park Opera, West Horsley


What is the Pitt Rivers Museum doing in Valhalla? Why does Sieglinde remove her Mead goblet from a display, and why is Notung perched up...

Ariadne auf Naxos @ Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lewes


For all of its obvious humour, Ariadne auf Naxos is an extremely profound work. Theatrically it breaks the fourth wall, constitutes (at least in part)...