Archives for posts with tag: Barnaby Rea

Anybody who has enjoyed an extended love affair with opera will know from their frequent disappointment that it is an art form alarmingly susceptible to being royally buggered up. Singers who – either through delusion or an inability to say no – allow themselves to be cast in roles for which they are patently ill-equipped will suck the life out of the best productions; theatre management that persists in colluding with them perpetuates both the disappointment for the audience and the damage to the reputation of the performers; directors in thrall to white-tiled bathrooms, chain-link fencing or the Third Reich can render risible a musical performance that would otherwise rank as world-class.

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While up in Bow Street, the Royal Opera opened the season with open house for a youthful audience watching a paean to unlikely mammaries, English National Opera, perhaps mindful that they were competing with Last Night of the Proms, opened with Stuart Skelton singing the title role in a new production of Verdi’s Otello. In recent years, Verdi’s masterpiece has very much been the property of the Royal Opera, with a series of highly successful revivals of Elijah Moshinsky’s traditional and long-lived production involving big international stars. The most recent of these involved the near perfect partnership of Antonenko and Harteros under the incendiary baton of Antonio Pappano. Those are big shoes to step into but I am delighted to report that ENO more than stepped up to the mark – this was the best opening night at the Coliseum that I can remember in a very long time and all factors coalesced into a thrilling and emotionally draining evening.


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