Showing posts from October, 2013

Go Abstract, Just Go All the Way: Beethoven's Fidelio at the English National Opera

Having seen film versions of Beethoven's Fidelio and seen it live in Vienna in a fairly traditional if not period-specific production I was intrigued by the abstract production being offered at the English National Opera. I have no problem with abstract productions but I do tend to think it is easier to do more traditional productions well, or at least acceptably, whereas the bar is higher for abstract productions. Oddly, therefore, I was surprised to find that this production of Fidelio would have been more pleasing had it actually played on its abstract strengths rather than going to those extremes only at certain moments and falling into complacency between them. This review will be a bit unusual in that I will touch on the performers first before the production, almost in opposite order of my normal order.

Synopsis and general information:

Fidelio | Ludwig van Beethoven

Director | Calixto Bieito
Set Designer | Rebecca Ringst

Not Quite Frenetic Madness: Strauss' Elektra at the Royal Opera House

I have always been fascinated by Richard Strauss' Elektra. Despite never having listened to it in full, it has always been iconic to me of Strauss' dichotomy between viennese slice of life productions, such as Der Rosenkavalier or Arabella, and his emphasis on mythology often incorporated elements of Freudian psychology and madness, such as Salome, Elektra, and to some extent Ariadne auf Naxos. Having heard many of Strauss' other operas but never the iconic Elektra, I was excited. This production by the Royal Opera House won great acclaim from the audience in the house and reviewers. I appreciate the production, especially for its consistency, but found it slightly less convincing.

Synopsis and general information:
Elektra | Richard Strauss
Credits: Director | Charles Edwards
Set Design | Charles Edwards
Costume Designs | Brigitte Reiffenstuel
Lighting Design | Charles Edwards
Movement Director | Leah Hausman

Performers: Elektra…

Two New Reviews Coming Up - Strauss' Elektra & Beethoven's Fidelio

Just wanted to throw out there quickly that I've been a bit slow in getting through the mass of blogging I have to do between this and To Float on a Wayward Wind while also trying to do stuff and travel while in London in addition to classes and work. It's a bit crazy.

Still, I have been to Strauss' Elektra at the Royal Opera House and to English National Opera's production of Beethoven's Fidelio. Both had their highs and lows and reviews will be coming out shortly. I may shortly be at ENO's Madama Butterfly and would love to see ROH's Les vêpres siciliennes, though scheduling this has been difficult.

Meanwhile, The Passion of Opera has broken 30,000 lifetime views and keeps going strong. Thank you for your support and I'll have new reviews up shortly!!

A Classic in Fine Form: Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House

Le nozze di Figaro is, of course, a classic in the operatic canon. The cross-dressing, marriage/fidelity farce is typical of Mozart and Da Ponte in its ability to, like Shakespeare, convey both comedy and serious societal implications simultaneously. The thing is, for me, I went into this performance already weary, never having been very satisfied by either the comedy or the drama in this famous opera. I was reminded of the fact that while sometimes works can become overhyped, the crowds generally have some idea about things. I was reminded also that with something as famous as Nozze, perhaps I just had not seen a production that was good enough. That was exactly the case. This production demonstrated to me the genius of Mozart's beloved opera.

Synopsis and general information:

Le nozze di Figaro | Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Director | David McVicar
Designs | Tanya McCallin
Lighting Design | Paule Constable
Movement Directo…