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Past Production Reviews

Don Pasquale, Donizetti
D: Damiano Michieletto
C: Evelino Pidò
Don Pasquale at the Royal Opera House: a muted take on an old comedy

How cruel these old comedies are! Don Pasquale, close to the end of Donizetti’s astonishing and tragically truncated career – this was his 64th opera; only two more were to come – is sometimes spoken of as being rather more nuanced than other examples of the genre. But at core it is the quintessential commedia dell’arte story of young love triumphing over authority in the shape of an old man. Or, to put it another way, it presents, for our approval, the spectacle of an old man being punished for attempting to foil the desires of the young.

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30 October 2019www.newstatesman.comSimon Callow
Peter Grimes, Britten
D: Christine Mielitz
C: Simone Young

A Grimes of this magnitude has the potential to become perfection, raising memories of Vickers and dear Philip Langridge. Absolute perfection is attained by condutor Simone Young, who received the loudest ovations of the night from a near-capacity house. This score is under her skin and never sounded more thrilling and alive. The Staatsopernorchester was its best

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27 January 2022slippedisc.comLarry L. Lash
The tenor Jonas Kaufmann and the soprano Lise Davidsen are leading a luxuriously cast revival of Britten’s “Peter Grimes

The opportunity to hear Kaufmann in his debut as Peter Grimes, as well as Davidsen in her first staged performance as Ellen Orford.

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27 January 2022www.nytimes.comJoshua Barone
Oedipus rex, Stravinsky
D: Julie Taymor
C: Seiji Ozawa
Japan Opens New Festival Of Music

The festival's highlight is Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex," for which a Western-and-Japanese team created an elaborate set, complete with a reflecting pool covering the stage to evoke a misty path blending East and West. The soprano Jessye Norman was cast in the lead role of Jocasta, the mother of the ancient Greek king Oedipus.

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07 September 1992www.nytimes.comBy The Associated Press
Taymor’s ‘Oedipus Rex’ Is Close to Definitive

Seiji Ozawa led a monumental new “Oedipus Rex” at the fledgling Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan. Directed by Julie Taymor--she of masks, puppets and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant--that production of Stravinsky’s opera-oratorio seems as close to definitive as the difficult work may allow.

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26 May 1993www.latimes.comJOHN HENKEN
Boris Godunov, Mussorgsky
D: Richard Jones
C: Antonio Pappano
Opera review: Boris Godunov at the Royal Opera House

It tells the tale of the 16th century Russian tsar Boris Godunov who seized power after the death of Ivan the Terrible, allegedly after supervising the murder of Ivan's son, and went on to be almost as terrible as his predecessor. In the opera, he is plagued with guilt and ends up going mad, so the whole thing becomes a case history of increasing derangement. Most unusually, there is no major role for a woman singer, so there are no great soprano arias to liughten the musical mood, and it is Boris who dies at the end after the plot has meandered through the darker realms of insanity. The credit for the power of this scene goes equally to Terfel and the director, Richard Jones, and his team, whose striking design and costumes provide a visual treat matching the power of the music. Jones does, however, rather overdo a repeated vision tormenting Boris of the murder of Ivan's son which brought Boris to power.With Bryn Terfel as Boris dominating the show, all other roles are reduced to bit parts, but it is worth mentioning John Tomlinson as a drunken monk, who provided a much needed comic interlude to interrupt the sombre tale. As always, however, Bryn Terfel is well worth seeing and the intensity drawn from the orchestra by Antonio Pappano is magnificent.

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29 March 2016www.express.co.ukWILLIAM HARTSTON