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Showing posts from June, 2012

Billy Budd at the English National Opera

It was a new production of Billy Budd. First night too. What happened to the nautical theme of the opera? There was the odd rope and ladder. The stage set (designer Paul Steinberg) looked more like some cheap sci-fi show - with men wearing faux military uniform. Best ignored.



Ed Gardner conducted. And as ever, kept a tight reign in the pit. Benedict Nelson sang the title role. He was ok - sweet enough voice though lacking in power for the large space of the Coliseum. Kim Begley who sang Captain Vere had much more presence - pensive, questioning, authoritative. The chorus was the best part. Numerous, strong and tight. Words were clear, as if they meant every word of it.

Salome at the Royal Opera

Andris Nelsons was in the pit for this revival of Strauss's Salome. He clearly established a good rapport with the orchestra. The sound had intensity and at times almost menacing. Angela Denoke was Salome - who sang the part well though her stage acting / dancing could be better. Sir David McVicar's production, revived by Bárbara Lluch, hasn't aged too badly. All in all still an enjoyable (does one enjoy Salome?) performance.

The Cunning Little Vixen at Glyndebourne

After some unavoidable delays, I finally got to see The Cunning Little Vixen. The production was great. The set design (Tom Pye) was naturalistic and there was lots of three-dimension spaces for the action to unfold. The costumes by Dinah Collin were effective - a hybrid of "country" and iconic (where the coloured tails or pop out eyes denoted which animal they were). And the stage direction (Melly Still) had lots of little touches (including the vixen peeing over the badger) that made the whole opera entertaining.



Lucy Crowe as the vixen was great - the right kind of voice, and agility to convey that sense of youthfulness. Vladimir Jurowski (his penultimate season) was at the helm of the LPO - all sounded fabulously good.