Someone famously remarked about a performance of Hamlet that it was full of quotes. Well, I felt the same about Carmen. It's full of famous tunes and memorable songs. Not surprising as it’s the world’s favourite opera and has been mined by artists, composers, filmmakers, writers, advertising agencies and a hundred others seeking to exploit its riches. Everyone knows a tune from Carmen even if they couldn’t name it. English National Opera is quite rightly engaged in a mission to reach new … [Read more...]
Reviews of Opera in London's West End and Off-West End
London puts on some fabulous opera, whether at iconic venues such as the Royal Opera House, London Coliseum or smaller, more intimate venues. Read one of the latest reviews or use the search button to find and view one of our previous reviews. We use a star rating system on our site.
Faust, Alberta – Opera by Simone Spagnolo
Faust Alberta is the second Time Zone production by Pamela Schermann at the Bridewell Theatre in the “Opera in the City” festival following the excellent Orfeo and Euridice. It is an original work by the composer Simone Spagnolo and this was its world premiere. A “Nameless Man” is in a remote cabin surrounded by frozen snowfields. He is not identified even to himself. The music is initially eerie – tonal and melodic but subtle and understated. The Man is indulging in self-analysis and a search for identity. He feels trapped and seeks an explanation. The musical rhythms strengthen to reinforce his existential dilemma and we become aware that this is to be an operatic monologue with some spoken words but mostly sung.
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The Mikado is England’s best comic opera. A masterpiece of whimsy, satire, silliness and jollity. If you wanted a definition of Englishness in all its surreal glory then The Mikado is it. Part farce, part romantic comedy it is totally captivating. It takes you out of yourself and transports you to a world of fantasy and comic joy. It’s like reading Evelyn Waugh’s “Decline and Fall” for the first time. It’s silly, funny, hilarious and jolly. Like a soufflé it rises miraculously and somehow stays … [Read more...]
The road from Opera with a capital O to the musicals which dominate the West End goes via Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880). He injected fun, satire and transgressive innovations into musical theatre that opened up the form and broke down barriers and boundaries. His so called operettas are stepping stones on the way to the musical. For me they are liberating and joyful. The Goldilocks of the musical theatre: not too long, not too short, not too serious, just right. So any chance to see a current … [Read more...]
Opera has long been seen, rightly or wrongly, as a high brow form of theatre and this perception alone is enough to put many people off going. Cue Opera’r Ddraig, a Welsh opera company who take classic operas and adapt them to Welsh settings. Their latest adaptation sets Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore on Barry Island, probably most famous for its links to Gavin and Stacey. The result is brilliant. Adina owns a café in Barry, Nicky sits in that café all day mulling over his unrequited love for … [Read more...]
Imagine sitting in a village Community Centre with no stage, just a flat floor, no complex lighting rig, no set to speak of and no orchestra, just one piano, watching what quickly proved to be a totally involving and ultimately very moving production of Puccini’s La Boheme. That is what I had the good fortune to be doing thanks to Opera Holloway, a small-scale touring company that specialises in presenting accessible performances, particularly to new audiences and ‘to the doorstep of smaller … [Read more...]