ETO’s new Barber cuts it in Hackney

English Touring Opera’s https://i0.wp.com/img803.imageshack.us/img803/959/etobarber3.jpgnew production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, which opened at the Hackney Empire on Thursday night, is, at first glance, a highly conventional affair. Set firmly in Beaumarchais’ late 1700s, with contemporary sets and costumes, and eschewing any extraneous business, it is a straightforward narrative of young love’s triumph over elderly Machiavellian scheming. If you think that sounds a little worthy and just a bit dull then think again, for this is a show that grabs the audience’s attention and holds onto it from start to finish, so accomplished is it in its wit and invention.

My full review is at Opera Britannia

Classy Figaro at the ROH compromised by casting changes

If the curate https://i0.wp.com/img560.imageshack.us/img560/858/rohfigaro7.jpgever wonders what has become of his much travelled egg, he could have located it last Saturday evening at the Royal Opera House, where it was masquerading as a performance that had much to commend it but was ultimately undone by some unbalanced casting.

David McVicar’s 2006 staging (placing the action amid the revolutionary turmoil of 1830s Europe) remains a thing of beauty. With Tanya McCallin’s gorgeous designs and Paule Constable’s at times magical lighting (the transition from sunset to Rembrandtesque candle light at the end of Act III is a genuine coup de théâtre) he has created a production that is well on the way to attaining iconic status.

My full review is at Opera Britannia

Sumi Jo serves up an enigma at Cadogan Hall

I learned something https://i2.wp.com/img838.imageshack.us/img838/2566/sumijoaskonas.jpgremarkable at Cadogan Hall on Friday night: those Medieval transmutationists weren’t barking mad after all – alchemy is real. Take one South Korean soprano, one solo flautist, add a light dusting of French froth, and pure, gleaming gold will miraculously appear. The downside seems to be that if you don’t get the formula quite right, you’re stuck with something a bit nearer to lead for most of the evening.

My full review is at Opera Britannia:

Outstanding ‘Xerxes’ from English Touring Opera

Outstanding ‘Xerxes’ from English Touring Opera


On 8th October 2011, English Touring Opera premiered its new production of Handel’s ‘Xerxes’ at the RCM’s Britten Theatre. It is a remarkable achievement and a tribute to the creativity and teamwork of all those involved at ETO. In its way it makes a statement as powerful as the celebrated 1985 staging by Nicholas Hytner for ENO, and that is no mean feat indeed.

My full review is at Opera Britannia: