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Dresden - Henze's 'We Come to the River'
In 1976 at Covent Garden, I was at one of the first performances of Hans Werner Henze’s massive, multi-layered war opera We Come to the River. Some 36 years later, in Dresden on September 13, I attended the first night of the semperoper’s new product Read more

Articles
Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Juan)—a film by Kasper Holten
The title of this new film of Don Giovanni immediately tells us what a slippery operatic object it is: it’s Mozart’s, it’s a film by Kasper Holten, it’s Don Giovanni, it’s Juan. Clearly we’re supposed to leave any preconceptions about Don Giovanni as Read more

Articles
A History of Opera: The Last Four Hundred Years
By Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker. Penguin. 624pp. £30. ISBN: 9780713996333 Read more

Articles
Don Giovanni: The Opera
There’s some ironic satisfaction to be gained from arriving at a venue called Heaven to watch the most famous operatic descent into hell... Read more

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La Fille du régiment
Royal Opera at Covent Garden, April 27 Read more

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The Importance of Being Earnest
For his previous opera, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (premiered at English National Opera in 2005), Gerald Barry set every single word Read more

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Vienna
Visiting the Staatsoper can be a bit hit and miss. It might possess in its raised pit one of the great opera-house orchestras of the world Read more

Articles
DVD Review: Die Frau ohne Schatten
Christof Loy's Salzburg Frau ohne Schatten reviewed Read more

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Salzburg Whitsun Festival
Hugh Canning reviews Cecilia Bartoli's Cleopatra-themed Festival Read more

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Billy Budd
Rodney Milnes on ENO's new Billy Budd Read more

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Dr Dee at ENO
This second operatic offering from Blur frontman and Gorillaz creator Damon Albarn is—among other things—a cultural product brought to us courtesy of London 2012. Clocking in at a little under two hours (including rehydration at half-time), Dr Dee is Read more

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Fort Worth
Fort Worth Opera’s double-pronged experiment—mixing a generous portion of the new with the old, and presenting both in a festival setting—is proving a surprising success. The most remarkable confirmation of that was this year’spresentation of Mark Ad Read more

Articles
Treemonisha, Joplin
Treemonisha arguably ranks high on the list of operas still awaiting a proper reckoning. Laudably, it is the intention of this New World Records release to create the circumstances for just such a revaluation. The project has taken some two decades t Read more

Articles
L’Heure espagnole and L’Enfant et les sortilèges
Rodney Milnes reviews Glyndebourne's Ravel Double Bill Read more

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Mittwoch aus Licht
David Fallows reviews the premiere of Stockhausen's opera Read more

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Munich
Hugh Canning reviews Andreas Kriegenburg new production of the Ring Read more

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Julietta
English National Opera at the London Coliseum, September 27 by John Allison Read more

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Elektra, Richard Strauss (CD reviews)
What a contrast these two Elektras make. The musicality and dramatic commitment Eugen Jochum’s Hamburg set (studio recorded in June 1944 under what, to put it mildly, can’t have been the easiest circumstances) shine through the limitations of war-tim Read more

Articles
Cape Town
The English Masque is a curious musical animal, and Purcell’s semi-opera The Fairy Queen (March 30 at the Joseph Stone Auditorium) particularly so... Read more

Articles
Milan
La Scala has fared rather well with new productions this season, with Robert Carsen’s Don Giovanni and Claus Guth’s Frau ohne Schatten followed by two further successes, Richard Jones’s Peter Grimes and Mario Martone’s Luisa Miller. Jones sets Britte Read more

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Lyon
Since his operatic debut with the Canadian Opera Company in 1997 (Symphony of Psalms and Oedipus Rex) and subsequent Siegfried there, the director François Girard has made Opéra de Lyon something of a second musical home... Read more

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Sydney
La Niña must be an opera-lover. After a rain-truncated dress rehearsal—and months of chaotic summer weather—Opera Australia’s first venture into large-scale outdoor performance opened on Sydney Harbour... Read more

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CD Review: Zémire et Azor, Grétry
This is a most delightful release, and an instructive one—a live BBC recording of a performance of Grétry‘s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ opera in May 1955 at the Theatre Royal, Bath... Read more

Articles
Amsterdan
Having seen most of the productions of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya that have followed since Valery Gergiev reintroduced this mystical masterpiece to a very wintry St Petersburg in February 199 Read more

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Birmingham Opera Company
Jonathan Dove’s association with Graham Vick’s Birmingham Opera Company goes back to its beginnings 25 years ago... Read more

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Dallas
DALLAS OPERA’s Tristan und Isolde (seen on February 16) may have outdone even last season’s Boris Godunov as the company’s most imposing performance in the dozen years I’ve been reviewing its productions... Read more

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Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro
One would be hard pressed to imagine a less cycle-like traversal of the three Mozart-Da Ponte operas than this, even if the Royal Opera’s marketing machine did all it could to persuade us... Read more

Articles
The Tales of Hoffmann, ENO
A long, long evening, three-and-a-half hours in the theatre, never for a minute boring but in the end curiously unsatisfying. Read more

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Aleksandra Kurzak—Gioia!
Aleksandra Kurzak has much to be joyful about, and as befits the title of her first solo disc for Decca there is a definite smile in her voice. Read more

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New York
In the good old days-also the not-so-good old days-the metropolitan opera rang out the old year with the would-be frivolity of Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus... Read more

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Warsaw
‘Z dorobkiem Stanislawa Moniuszki jest w Polsce spory problem'-‘The legacy of Stanislaw Moniuszko is a big problem in Poland'... Read more

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South Africa
Can there be such a thing as an ‘authentic’ Lost in the Stars? Based on a South African literary classic, written by a German-Jewish composer and premiered in New York, its pedigree takes some unravelling... Read more

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CD Review: Mariusz Kwiecien—Slavic Heroes
In the Editor's booklet notes Kwiecien says that his idol is Piero Cappuccilli, and it shows, not only in the warmth and beauty of his tone but also in a command of seamless legato that in no way compromises clarity of diction. Read more

Articles
Munich
Rolando Villazón’s comebacks are almost becoming as much of an operatic fixture as Nellie Melba’s farewells. Read more

Articles
Eugene Onegin
English National Opera at the London Coliseum, November 12 Read more

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Ireland: Wexford
Last autumn saw the 60th-anniversary Wexford Festival. What would the legendary Dr Tom Walsh, who founded it all those years ago, think about what has happened to his creation? Read more

Articles
The Queen of Spades, Opera North at the Grand Theatre
To judge from newspaper reports and indeed from travellers’ tales, Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts was not in sound vocal health on the first night, which must have caused general nervousness within the company... Read more

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Hong Kong and Macau
Exciting though it was to witness the premiere of Huang Ruo’s Dr Sun Yat-sen, given by Opera Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, that had not quite been the agenda when I made my travel plans... Read more

Articles
Il trittico, Covent Garden
The Royal Opera and its audiences could scarcely have hoped for a stronger opening to the season. Puccini always brings out the best in Antonio Pappano... Read more

Articles
Bayreuth
It was business as usual for the 100th Bayreuth Festival: the directors Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier are doubtless saving their thunder for the 200th anniversary of their great-grandfather's birth in 2013... Read more

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Salzburg
Now that Die Frau ohne Schatten has come into vogue in opera houses across Europe...it was both natural and overdue for the salzburg festival to be reconnecting with a work that has featured there very intermittently. Read more

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Edinburgh International Festival - Thaïs and Orlando paladino
Jonathan Mills’s ‘east meets west’ theme brought plenty of Asian actors, dancers and musicians to the 2011 festival. It did not bring any Asian opera. Read more

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Cendrillon
Cendrillon is a delicate bloom needing tender care. Even among paid-up Massenet-istes it is something of a connoisseur’s score, and very difficult to bring off with its combination of melancholy and fairly broad humour. Read more

Articles
Aix-en-Provence
The Festival d’Aix-en-Provence’s new La traviata was (apart from the orchestral contribution of the London Symphony Orchestra) a very French affair. Though the director Jean-François Sivadier has a few operas to his credit, his biography describes hi Read more

Articles
Il turco in Italia
This was day two of Garsington Opera at Wormsley. The welcome speech by Anthony Whitworth-Jones, the company’s general director, hinted that day one had proved something of a trial... Read more

Articles
Washington
Say what you will about Plácido Domingo’s 15-year tenure at the helm of Washington National Opera—and an awful lot has been said... Read more

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DISC OF THE MONTH: Moses und Aron, Schoenberg
Moses und Aron is one of music’s impossible objects. Composed in the early 1930s shortly before Schoenberg fled from the rising threat of Nazism, the opera—itself seemingly in a permanent state of flight—rests on conundrums... Read more

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Die Walküre, Metropolitan Opera
Robert Lepage’s new Metropolitan Opera production of the Ring is being staged in collaboration with the director’s own multidisciplinary company Ex Machina... Read more

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ENO
Few dreams are entirely good, and no staging that does justice to A Midsummer Night’s Dream—Shakespeare’s or Britten’s—is wholly without a sinister aspect... Read more

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Norma, Zurich
Robert Wilson’s new Norma for Zurich Opera brings Bellini’s tragedia lirica in due atti into the cyber age. It’s a prime example of his abstractionist, formal theatre... Read more

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Armida, Rossini (DVD)
This is the live performance of 1 May 2010, already seen in selected cinemas and now issued for wider circulation. It came a fortnight after the performance Martin Bernheimer reviewed (June 2010, pp. 724-5) with minor cast adjustments Read more

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Barcelona
Not far from the legendary site of the mountain castle of Montsalvat, Barcelona boasts a close connection to Parsifal. It has not always been a savoury one—the Catalan obsession with Wagner and this work in particular spilt over in the 1930s into a n Read more

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Anna Nicole, Covent Garden
Mark-Anthony Turnage, now 50, came to prominence with Night Dances (1981). His first opera was Greek (Munich, 1988). A second chamber opera, The Country of the Blind, appeared at Aldeburgh in 1997, on a bill with Twice Through the Heart (like Erwartu Read more

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Strasburg
The staging of the Ring at OPERA DU RHIN, five years in the making, reached its conclusion with the first night of Götterdämmerung on February 25. The director throughout has been David McVicar... Read more

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Giulio Cesare, Paris
Natalie Dessay’s repertoire seems to be in a state of flux. Although she recently returned to Lucia di Lammermoor at the Met, her first Cleopatra perhaps suggests a realignment of priorities... Read more

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La traviata, The Metropolitan Opera
La traviata has long been the exclusive property of Franco Zeffirelli at the Metropolitan Opera. His first bigger-than-big production came in 1989, with Edita Gruberová as Violetta; it was succeeded, for reasons unclear, by a somewhat different versi Read more

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Die tote Stadt, Finnish National Opera
The Finnish National Opera once again expanded its repertory in a welcome fashion with Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s early masterpiece, Die tote Stadt. The artistic director Mikko Franck, who conducted the performances, even stated that this is his favou Read more

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The Queen of Cornwall, Boughton (CD)
When the general opinion was that Wagner had already made a tolerably good opera out of the Tristan and Isolde legend, it might have seemed to rash to try to write another. Rutland Boughton, basking in his greatest success as the composer of The Immo Read more

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Tannhäuser, Royal Opera House
Perhaps the most popular of Wagner’s works during his lifetime, Tannhäuser has nowadays become something of a problem piece, not least because of the difficulty of casting the title role... Read more

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Death and the Powers, Monte-Carlo
This was a grand, rich, deeply serious new opera, presented by a team with manifold, coherent accomplishments. Read more

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Don Giovanni, English National Opera
The company's new Don Giovanni, heard at the third performance, is a pleasure to hear and a pain to watch. Read more

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The Minotaur—Birtwistle (DVD)
Only months after its acclaimed inaugural run at Covent Garden, Harrison Birtwistle’s opera is now available on DVD. Read more

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Il postino, Los Angeles
After ten years and numerous high-profile misfires, Plácido Domingo and LOS ANGELES OPERA’s persistence in commissioning new work for the lyric stage has paid off. Read more

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The Turn of the Screw
The last time I encountered the work of the South African-born director Alessandro Talevi and the set and costume designer Madeleine Boyd was at last summer’s Buxton Festival... Read more

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Jonas Kaufmann: Verismo Arias
In his third solo CD for Decca, a brave, dedicated and altogether arresting piece of work, Jonas Kaufmann offers a programme of late-Romantic Italian opera arias. Read more

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Salome in Barcelona
Richard Strauss’s famously optimistic ideal for his operatic Salome was ‘a 16-year-old princess with the voice of an Isolde’. Read more

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Die Feen in Paris
Wagner had no very high opinion of his first opera, Die Feen, in later life. Read more

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Falstaff at Glyndebourne
Falstaff is never easy. This much was obvious even from those celebratory, dutifully ecstatic but almost uniformly non-comprehending reviews of the premiere in fin de siècle Milan. Read more

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Peter Grimes at English National Opera
It’s easy for English opera-goers to feel possessive about Peter Grimes. Read more

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Midsummer Nights
For this book, under the editorial baton of Jeanette Winterson and published to celebrate Glyndebourne’s 75th birthday, 19 writers have each chosen an opera and written a short story ‘from its music or its characters, its plot or its libretto …' Read more

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The Copenhagen Ring—Wagner (DVD)
This is a wonderful Ring to watch as well as to listen to, a must-have for Wagnerians anywhere. Read more