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Rigoletto – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Opera: Giuseppe Verdi Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave Director: James Macdonald Revival director: Caroline Chaney Reviewer: Barbara Michaels Set in the White House during the Kennedy era, James Macdonald’s revival of Verdi’s Rigoletto was first staged by Welsh National Opera seventeen years ago.  There have been a few adjustments since, and, given our present political state, the production keeps pace with ...

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Carmen – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Composer: Georges Bizet Libretto: Henri Melham and Ludovic Haley Director: Jo Davies Reviewer: Barbara Michaels A new production of Bizet’s iconic operatic sizzler Carmen rightly arouses much interest. The wonderful music is a given, with much of it familiar even to non-opera goers. So – like the emperor’s new clothes – the question must be: What does it bring to ...

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Elixir of Love – Kings Head Theatre, London

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti Writers: Chris Harris and David Eaton Director: Hannah Noone Reviewer: Karl O’Doherty Updated in many ways, the new version from Chris Harris and David Eaton sets out to prove sincerity still triumphs, even in (fairly) contemporary times. It’s quirky, interesting, and, under direction from Hannah Noone, a lot of fun. Transported from Italian fields to Wales’ Barry ...

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Giulio Cesare – Grand Theatre, Leeds

Composer: George Frideric Handel Libretto: Nicola Francesco Haym Director: Tim Albery Conductor: Christian Curnyn Designer: Leslie Travers Reviewer: Ron Simpson Handel’s Julius Caesar is not an early example of an opera based on Shakespeare. The full title is Giulio Cesare in Egitto and the knives out for Caesar are not in the hands of Cassius and Brutus, but of Ptolemy ...

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Opera North’s The Greek Passion – Leeds Grand Theatre, Leeds

Composer: Bohuslav Martinů Director: Christopher Alden Conductor: Garry Walker Reviewer: Dawn Smallwood Martinů’s The Greek Passion, a new production, marks the opening of Opera North’s autumn season.  Based on Nikos Kazantzakis’ text, it was written over 60 years ago and its score, albeit heavily revised, made its debut in Switzerland in 1961.  However, due to the themes’ relevance, Aleš Březina’s ...

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Looking At You – HERE Arts Center, New York City

Music: Kamala Sankaram Libretto: Rob Handel Developer and Director: Kristin Marting Music Director: Samuel McCoy Reviewer: Maridee Slater In an age where the cognitive distance between humans and our screens is diminishing, it is inevitable that theatrical liveness and the definition of immersive theatre will deconstruct itself, re-examine its role, and (hopefully) take strides towards a new actionable interface. In ...

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Don Jo – Arcola Theatre, London

Music: Arcola Participation Queer Collective, after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Libretto: Leo Doulton, after Lorenzo da Ponte Director: Leo Doulton Reviewer: Scott Matthewman Arcola’s annual Grimeborn season fills a unique space – a fringe festival for opera in a world where most fringe arts festivals concentrate on theatre or comedy. Every year, it throws up surprising takes on beloved classics, sitting ...

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I Capuleti e I Montecchi – Arcola Theatre, London

Music: Vincenzo Bellini Libretto: Felice Romani  Director: Lysanne van Overbeek Reviewer: Karl O’Doherty Who knew, really knew, Romeo and Juliet could be so sexy? Shakespeare’s version has romance, sure, but here in Bellini and Romani’s version there’s a palpable lust expressed in the music, the words, the action and events. Carried off with verve here under Lysanne van Overbeeks direction ...

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