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Aida – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Composer: Guiseppe Verdi Libretto: Antonio Ghislanzoni Director: Annabel Arden Conductor: Sir Richard Armstrong Reviewer: Tim Harding It’s easy to think of Verdi’s Aida in grandiose terms: extravagant sets, large choruses of soldiers and priests, dancers, horses and chariots.  But is that what this opera is all about?  True, the Triumphal March in Act 2 traditionally contains all these elements, but there is ...

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Manon Lescaut – Opera Holland Park, London

Composer: Giacomo Puccini Director: Karolina Sofulak Reviewer: Karl O'Doherty The witty, flighty, engaging music from the start of Puccini’s years of fame is not enough to bring flat rendering of Manon Lescaut into 3D. The main cast sing well, Elizabeth Llewellyn in the titular role especially, but in a production filled with contradiction and compromise there’s much to be desired. ...

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Aida – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Music: Giuseppe Verdi Libretto: Antonio Ghislanzoni Director: Annabel Arden Conductor: Sir Richard Armstrong Reviewer: Sam Lowe There couldn’t have been a better venue choice for tonight’s opera than Bridgewater Hall. The sound of music and singing effortlessly swirls around the acoustics of the auditorium. Opera North’s concert staging of Aidamixes everyone around: the performers are right at the front, followed ...

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Opera North | Aida – Leeds Town Hall

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi Libretto: Antonio Ghislanzoni Conductor: Sir Richard Armstrong Director: Annabel Arden Reviewer: Ron Simpson At 227 in the Classic FM Hall of Fame is Aida, followed by (in brackets) “includes Grand March and Celeste Aida”. That sums up the problem with the opera: its general popularity rests on the first two of four acts and, also, to an ...

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The Magic Flute – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Libretto: Emanuel Schikaneder translation Kit Hesketh-Harvey Conductor: Tobias Ringborg Director: Sir Thomas Allen Designer: Simon Higlett Lighting: Mark Jonathan Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys Set in a steampunk landscape inspired by H.G. Wells and Jules Verne: a wicked queen, a handsome prince, a damsel in distress, high priests, a comedy side-kick, magical instruments, a serpent and some sorcerers ...

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Cosi fan Tutte – Swansea City Opera at Harrogate Theatre

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Libretto: Lorenzo Da Ponte Translation: Ruth and Thomas Martin Director: Brendan Wheatley Conductor: John Beswick Designer: Gabriella Ingram Reviewer: Ron Simpson Cosi fan Tutte is one of the most problematic of Mozart’s operas. Until comparatively recent times it was neglected, certainly in Britain (too immoral or too sophisticated?), and it still creates problems of interpretation. The ...

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Rouse, Ye Women! – The Rondo Theatre, Bath

Writers: John Kirkpatrick and Neil Gore Director: Louise Townsend Reviewer: Claire Hayes Today’s gig economy may feel like a modern invention, but it shares its heritage with the piece-workers of the early 20th Century, toiling away beneath the breadline with none of the rights bestowed on regularised employees. Townsend Theatre’s latest production brings this connection into sharp relief, by focusing ...

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H.M.S. Pinafore – Kings Head Theatre, London

Writer: W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan Director: John Savournin Reviewer: Karl O'Doherty There’s a bounce and bit of mischief running through this colourful production that makes it impossible not to love. From Buttercup’s sweet sassiness to the jolly-sailor patter of the crew, it’s all just hugely entertaining - highlighting the ridiculousness of the situation even more than other productions that ...

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