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Showing posts from December, 2008

Hänsel und Gretel at the Royal Opera

Having  seen Hänsel und Gretel only a few months ago at Glyndebourne, I was looking forward to see how the Royal Opera will bring this fairytale opera to life.

Christian Fenouillat  pastoral set worked well. Like many operas with a small cast, he added a bounding box to reduce the size of the stage without losing perspective. Angelika Kirchschlager and Diana Damrau were believable Hänsel and Gretel respectively. Their stage acting (how they walked, jumped and cuddled) conveyed a real sense of innonance. Thomas Allen (their father) was on good form. The Dew Fairy (by Anita Watson) was fabulous with an orange duster and a yellow squirty spray cleaner. All in all, the creative team managed to strike a good balance between serious opera and fairytale. Colin Davis also did real justice to Humperdinck's lush Wagnerian score. It would be nice for this lovely work to remain in repertory around this time of the year to counter-balance the sickly sweek Nutcracker.

Le Contes d'Hoffmann

Rolando Villazón was ill, so Zvetan Michailov (Bulgarian) sang in last night's Le Contes d'Hoffmann. I was not sure how much notice Michailov had, but his singing was uneven and the diction was not great. Even Pappano's magic touch at the helm did not bring out the magic. Olympia (Ekaterina Lekhina), Giuletta (Christine Rice) and Antonia (Katie Van Kooten) made up for this otherwise lack lustre performance.