Published On: Thu, Jul 5th, 2018

Opera Review: Romeo et Juliette, The Abduction and La Boheme | Music | Entertainment

Gounod’s lush score gets the full romantic treatment by the English National Opera orchestra under conductor Stephen Barlow. Bass Clive Bayley leads the Capulets as a forceful godfather to the clan; Olivia Ray brings a flightiness to Juliette’s conniving nurse Gertrude.

As Romeo’s cheeky page boy, mezzo Anna Grevelius delivers Stephano’s aria “Que Fais-Tu Star Blanche Tourterelle?” stylishly, while tenor Anthony Flaum is a hot-tempered and irascible Tybalt, whose death, at Romeo’s hands, sparks off the final tragedy.

The two lovers, Ukrainian soprano Olena Tokar as Juliette and Korean tenor David Junghoon Kim as Romeo, are excellent singers but the passion of the arias is diminished by their acting.

Mozart’s The Abduction from The Seraglio 3/5

The first night of The Abduction From The Seraglio was a post birthday party for 85-year-old director John Copley who gathered cheers and red roses at the curtain call.

Mozart’s comic opera takes as its subject matter Europe’s late 18th-century fascination with tales of the Orient’s harems, whose inmates were often abducted by corsairs.

Pasha Selim has bought three slaves from pirates: young Spanish lady Konstanze, her English maid Blonde and Pedrillo, servant to nobleman Belmonte, who tracks them to the Pasha’s palace.

Comedy is slapstick with Jonathan Lemalu’s would-be ferocious Osmin as the butt of Blonde’s feisty English feminist.

In the speaking part of the Pasha, Alexander Andreou conveys the dignity and humanity that Mozart intended. Kiandra Howarth as Konstanze and Daisy Brown as Blonde are well matched, as are Ed Lyons’s dashing Belmonte and Paul Curievici’s cheerful Pedrillo.

Puccini’s La Bohème 4/5

Richard Jones’s production of La Bohème, premiering last autumn, has settled in beautifully in its first revival. Jones’s stylised staging captures 19th-century Paris, bustling with shops and brasseries.

The first cast last week captured the exuberance of the young Bohemians, in love with life until forced to face the realities of poverty, illness and death.

Matthew Polenzani is a lyrical Rodolfo, and Maria Agresta brings out the contrast between Mimi’s joy at their first meeting with her tragic decline.

Superdiva Danielle de Niese wowed the audience in her table-hopping delivery of Musetta’s Waltz. Catch La Bohème before the run ends on July 20 – it’s a treat.

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