English National Opera, 26th February 2011, Faye Courtney
This critic was merely a little maid from school when Jonathan Miller’s now classic production of The Mikado was first seen at ENO in 1986; but it is testimony to the strength and durability of this stylish show that it remains a delightfully funny crowd-pleaser in its umpteenth revival 25 years later. Dispensing with the kimonos and indeed all things Japanese, Miller’s slick and classy production (updated to 1930s England) is a frightfully English “jolly hockey sticks” affair set in the faded elegance of an all-white art deco hotel lobby (a strikingly attractive set by the late Stefanos Lazaridis) with a bold, predominantly black and white costume scheme (by Sue Blane). The concept works a treat and the lack of “Japanese-ness” really isn’t a problem here; besides, it goes without saying that beneath the totally superficial Oriental veneer Gilbert & Sullivan’s best-loved operetta is as English as Pimms and lemonade on a summer’s day, and no amount of dressing up a bunch of British singers in traditional Japanese costume would ever make one think otherwise. amapur stundendiät erfahrung - kohlenhydrate-tabellen.com
English National Opera, 16th February 2011, Mark Pullinger
Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s production of Parsifal has returned to ENO for the first time since its 1999 première, and although illness prevented the director from returning to duties, it remains as fine a staging of Wagner in London as any for the past decade. The action is set in a nondescript time and location. Audiences searching for overtly Christian references will look in vain, yet the message of redemption struck home more powerfully than ever, thanks to a twist at the conclusion.
The Royal Opera, 17th February 2011,Stephen Jay-Taylor
The first inklings that all was not going to be operatic business as usual for this, the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s new work, were evident from the moment you set foot inside the foyers, to discover that the mannequins in the costume display cases in the carriage lobby were all sporting paper bags over their heads, just as Brünnhilde once did in Richard Jones’ grisly Götterdämmerung in the 1990s. The only difference now is that the bags are overprinted with Anna Nicole Smith’s image - the one from the posters - which has usurped every available surface on the ROH’s walls, covering up each specimen in the historical photo exhibition in the Amphitheatre, as well as the prints, engravings and lithographs that since time immemorial have lined the outer wall of the Stalls, all cut to individual size and shape and fixed in what I fervently hope will be temporary position. Even the permanent displays of set models have been removed, and where, say, you would always have seen - with a fond and nostalgic sigh in my case - the Cloisters of the Monastery of San Yuste from Visconti’s Don Carlo, you may now examine at incredulous leisure what purports to be Anna Nicole’s brassière, a large black object looking for all the world like a pumpkin carrier.
Westminster Abbey, 15th February 2011, Antony Lias
Rarely, if ever, has a singer inspired such affection from her fans, as did Dame Joan Sutherland. Today, some two thousand admirers and dignitaries turned up at Westminster Abbey to pay homage to the great La Stupenda. The setting of a memorial service at Westminster Abbey was perhaps the ideal way to celebrate that career - one which spanned more that forty years and included countless triumphs for a voice that was both instantly recognisable and unparalleled in its combination of attributes.
2nd February 2011, Mark Pullinger
With the spectre of Valentine’s Day looming ever closer, a programme of 17th century Italian love songs may have seemed just the thing to fire Cupid’s bow, although your average audience member at Wigmore Hall may be considered a little beyond such nonsense, in terms of age at least. In the event, Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena and the instrumental ensemble Private Musicke struck gold (and hearts) in a programme of songs exploring all the pleasures and pains of love under the title ‘Lettere amorose’, the same heading as was used on their recent disc for Deutsche Grammophon. I did wonder if this was going to be a promotional puff (if a tardy one) for the album, with an almost identical sequence of songs occasionally shuffled. Indeed, that the programme announced was 75 minutes long and was to be performed without an interval raised my suspicions, but the artistry involved suggested this repertoire is a real labour of love. In truth, there was a distinct absence of the aforementioned disc for sale in the foyer.
The Royal Opera, 1st February 2011, John E. de Wald
There is a fanciful charm undeniably suffusing David McVicar’s 2003 staging of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, little ameliorated by the passing of time leading to this, its third revival. The set design and costumes still evoke those striking panoramas of the worlds of light and dark, Enlightenment wisdom standing boldly against its benighted opposite, painted in beguiling hues of black, violet, and gold; the direction is still conveyed with acuity, little slackened in the hands of revival director Lee Blakeley. With Sir Colin Davis, conductor of the production at its premiere eight years ago, at the helm once again, one could little expect anything other than a safe evening of Mozartian elegance.
English National Opera, 31st January 2010, Antony Lias
In just a shade under two hours and twenty five minutes the English National Opera, courtesy of director Mike Figgis, managed to butcher a wonderful oeuvre-defying opera to such an alarming extent, that by the end of the performance I was left practically begging for an invite to Lucrezia Borgia’s latest “wine and anthrax party” – anything at all to put me out of my misery. The ENO often trumpets their risk-taking credentials as an antidote to the more staid and safe offerings over at Covent Garden, but when it goes wrong, my God it goes wrong. At what point did John Berry and the rest of his management team sit down and say, is this a risk or is it reckless? No doubt a fine line separates the two, hence the often brilliant versus disappointing dichotomy offered at the Coliseum, but when you engage a film director with no prior experience with directing an opera, you are asking for trouble. Even more alarming is when you engage a film director who avowedly declaims his lack of knowledge of the art form. At this point you can safely deduce without the aid of Mother Shipton, that you will end up with a prize turkey on your hands.