ABR Arts Opera

The Rape of Lucretia is the most problematic of Benjamin Britten’s operas. Recent productions of Gloriana, the opera Britten wrote to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, have proved that its notoriously unsuccessful première in 1953 had more to do with an uncomprehending audience ...

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Parsifal (Opera Australia) ★★★★★

Christopher Menz
Friday, 11 August 2017

Of all Richard Wagner’s operatic works, it is Parsifal that divides audiences most. As with the Ring, its ambiguity lends itself to multiple interpretations. The music has been praised and admired by the greatest of critics and musicians, including those who heard it when it was ...

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Thaïs (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Peter Rose
Monday, 24 July 2017

Few singers make riveting autobiographers, it must be said, but one who should have penned her memoirs was Sybil Sanderson (1864–1903). She seems to have been too busy, on and off the stage. Hers was the kind of short, turbulent life that Puccini might have done something with ...

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Cunning Little Vixen (Victorian Opera) ★★★1/2

Alastair Jackson
Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Leoš Janáček was more than sixty years old when his operas finally began to attract attention. After the much delayed success of Jenůfa (1904), he went on to produce another four major works on which his operatic reputation became established. They included ...

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Otello (Royal Opera House) ★★★

John Allison
Monday, 26 June 2017

When the world’s most famous tenor tackles one of the most famously challenging of all tenor roles, the scene ought to be set for an evening of tension and drama. Only some of that tension and drama, however, actually came from the stage of the Royal Opera House ...

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Hamlet (Glyndebourne Opera Festival) ★★★★★

Michael Halliwell
Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Three ‘new’ operatic versions of Hamlet in two years: the time is certainly not ‘out of joint’ for Shakespeare. Italian composer and conductor Franco Faccio’s Amleto was successfully premièred in Genoa in 1865, but then had a disastrous performance at La Scala in Milan in 1871 ...

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Co-Opera’s Eugene Onegin and Various People’s Orpheus Underground, both of which played in Adelaide in early May, provided a study in contrasts. Tchaikovsky’s great opera (first performed in 1879) has toured to the eastern states and country South Australia, an ambitious undertaking ...

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Such was the international success of this double bill that both works were performed together at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne in September 1893 – Pagliacci less than sixteen months after its world première in Milan. Impresario George Musgrove even secured the original Canio ...

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La Sonnambula (Victorian Opera) ★★★★

Peter Rose
Monday, 08 May 2017

Vincenzo Bellini – fresh from the success of I Capuleti e Montecchi in Venice – spent the July and August of 1830 on Lake Como biding his time. He was struck by the folk songs of the female workers at the textile mills as they made their way home. These idylls were to flavour his ...

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Saul (Adelaide Festival) ★★★★★

Michael Morley
Monday, 06 March 2017

If one accepts the aptness of the old adage ‘one picture is worth a thousand words’, the range of pictorial delights offered by Barrie Kosky’s production of Handel’s oratorio Saul (1739) would test my editor’s word limit – generous though they always are ...

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