ABR Arts Opera

John Doyle’s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s 1837 opera dates back to 2012 – a co-production with La Fenice and Houston. It is a rather self-important production – very dour and Presbyterian. The dark cloudage never parts. There is a radical want of props ...

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William Tell (Victorian Opera) ★★★1/2

Michael Shmith
Monday, 16 July 2018
It has to be said straight away that William Tell is a colossal challenge, almost as much for its audiences as its performers. People talk of Wagner’s Curse (what can go wrong, usually does, in spades), but Rossini’s operatic swansong is not far behind. What makes it especially daunting for any opera company brave or foolhardy enough ... ... (read more)
Seldom is one able to see Wagner’s first successful repertoire opera and his final masterpiece within the space of twenty-four hours. After a few anxious moments with a delayed flight from Warsaw to Munich, a high-speed taxi ride to the National Theatre in the centre of the city, this reviewer, heart pounding and blood racing, settled into the first act of Parsifal ...
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Athalia (Pinchgut Opera) ★★★1/2

Ian Dickson
Monday, 25 June 2018

Following the end of the 1733 London opera season, George Frideric Handel headed to Oxford with his first two oratorios, Esther and Deborah and the newly composed Athalia. While the first two were well enough received, Athalia was a triumph, with newspaper claims that 3,700 people attended the performances ...

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ABR Arts’s long day’s journey into operatic night continued with three familiar productions, one of them new to the Metropolitan Opera. Jules Massenet’s fifteenth opera (April 24) is largely unknown to modern audiences, but its neglect is a mystery, for this version of Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale (based on a libretto ...

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Così fan tutte (Metropolitan Opera) ★★★★

Peter Rose
Thursday, 26 April 2018

‘When you’re young, you believe everything,’ Jonas Kaufmann muses in Thomas Voigt’s biographical study, In Conversation with Jonas Kaufmann (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2017). The German tenor, a frequent Ferrando at the start of his career, went on: ‘And now imagine: two couples who live next door to each other go ...

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Don Quichotte (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Desdemona’s plangent, soaring phrase at the end of the ‘Willow Song’ in Verdi’s penultimate opera, Otello, has been described as the last despairing cry of the bel canto. After many years of relentless tragedies, Verdi’s final opera, Falstaff, would be a bubbling and effervescent comedy – only his second in his illustrious career ...

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Hamlet (Adelaide Festival) ★★★★★

Michael Halliwell
Thursday, 08 March 2018

It is the fate of nearly all new operas to disappear quickly after an initial run of performances, so it was with much anticipation that Australian audiences had the opportunity to see Brett Dean’s Hamlet, triumphantly premièred at Glyndebourne in June 2017 ...

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La Traviata (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Friday, 02 March 2018

It is a particular pleasure for an opera lover, even a hard-bitten critic, to watch a career develop and blossom. Nicole Car, making her role début as Violetta for Opera Australia, is one such singer. Audiences have enjoyed her in a series of important roles ...

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The Nose (Opera Australia) ★★★★★

Zoltán Szabó
Friday, 23 February 2018

Dmitri Shostakovich’s rarely performed first opera, The Nose (1930), premièred in the Sydney Opera House on 21 February. To add to the ‘firsts’: this was Barrie Kosky’s début at Covent Garden in 2016, it is Kosky’s first work for Opera Australia in almost twenty years, and this is the first professional production ...

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