Friday 29 December 2023

2023 in Opera and Music Theatre: historically informed Berlioz & Wagner, dramatic Handel, a G&S rarity, RVW, Zandonai in Berlin, new Jonathan Dove

Purcell & Pountney: The Masque of Might - Andri Björn Róbertsson, Xavier Hetherington, Matthew Brook - Opera North (Photo: James Glossop)
Purcell & Pountney: The Masque of Might - Andri Björn Róbertsson, Xavier Hetherington, Matthew Brook - Opera North (Photo: James Glossop)

One particular highlight this year was Berlioz' Les Troyens at the BBC Proms with Dinis Sousa conducting the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique. Wagner was something of an ongoing theme for 2023, including Dresden Music Festival's historically informed Das Rheingold and a remarkable performance of Die Walküre from London Opera Company. Handel masterpieces included Jephtha at Covent Garden with Allan Clayton and Saul at the Komische Oper, Berlin with Luca Tittoto, plus more of a rarity, Arminio, from the Jette Parker Young Artists at Covent Garden.

We also caught Allan Clayton in a remarkable reinvention of Britten's Peter Grimes at the Paris Opera. Gilbert & Sullivan also featured with Iolanthe returning to ENO, and a rare revival of Princess Ida from John Wilson and the OAE.

New opera included the premiere of Jonathan Dove's Itch at Opera Holland Park, as well as the return of his Mansfield Park at RNCM. The Opera Story presented Dani Howard and Joseph Spence's The Yellow Wallpaper, and Rania Chrysostomou & Sarah Parkin's On Being Vocal featured at Tête à Tête

Opera North pops up twice on our list with a gripping production of Puccini's Tosca and David Pountney's quirky Purcellian, The Masque of Might.

Rarities included Massenet's Le Roi de Lahore at Dorset Opera, Vaughan Williams' The Pilgrim's Progress from British Youth Opera at the Three Choirs Festival and Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, plus Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims and Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia from English Touring Opera.

Riccardo Zandonai: Francesca da Rimini - Sara Jakubiak, Jonathan Tetelman - Deutsche Oper Berlin (Photo: Monika Rittershaus)

Read our full selection of 2023 opera and music theatre performances below:
  • A remarkable sense of energy & engagement: Wagner's Die Walküre from the London Opera Company at St John's Smith Square
  • Plenty of food for thought & some terrific singing: Oliver Mears' staging of Handel's Jephtha at the Royal Opera with a towering performance from Allan Clayton in the title role
  • A little bit crazy yet done with verve, imagination and style: The Masque of Might, David Pountney's Purcellian masque at Opera North
  • The flower fairies are back: Cal McCrystal's production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Iolanthe for ENO fills the London Coliseum with colour, movement & comedy
  • A half hour full of switchback changes, genuine surprise & delight: Rania Chrysostomou & Sarah Parkin's On Being Vocal at Tête à Tête
  • Mesmerising chamber drama: Dani Howard & Joseph Spence's The Yellow Wallpaper from The Opera Story
  • An evening of compelling drama and wonderful music making, Dinis Sousa conducts Berlioz' Les Troyens at the BBC Proms
  • Glamour, terrific solo performances and a strong chorus: Jerry Herman & Harvey Fierstein's La Cage aux Folles at Regents Park Open Air Theatre
  • A little bit of theatrical magic: style, imagination and engaging performances in Dorset Opera's rare revival of Massenet's Le roi de Lahore
  • Greater than the sum of its parts: British Youth Opera perform Vaughan Williams' The Pilgrim's Progress at the Three Choirs Festival
  • Itch rocks: science, adventure and Wagnerian parallels in the world premiere of Jonathan Dove's terrific new opera Itch at Opera Holland Park
  • Visually seductive and strikingly arresting: The Queen of Spades at The Grange Festival is a real study in obsession
  • Colour, text & character: Dresden Music Festival launches its historically informed Ring cycle with gripping Das Rheingold
  • Mozart's late masterpiece: La Clemenza di Tito from Chelsea Opera Group with Helena Dix and Kezia Bienek 
  • Ida revealed: John Wilson & the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment take a fresh look at Gilbert & Sullivan's unjustly neglected Princess Ida
  • No ordinary evening: Christof Loy directs Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with Sara Jakubiak & Jonathan Tetelman
  • Compelling thriller: Handel's Arminio from Royal Opera's Jette Parker Young Artists
  • 'Let other pens dwell on misery and grief' - a joyous ensemble performance of Jonathan Dove's Mansfield Park from RNCM Opera
  • An enjoyable romp: Rossini's 1825 coronation opera Il viaggio a Reims from English Touring Opera; a largely young cast have a great time and bring the work to life
  • Style and youthful charm: English Touring Opera brings out the musical delights of Donizetti's murderous heroine, Lucrezia Borgia
  • Keenly dramatic: Puccini's Tosca at Opera North with a feisty Tosca, an unexpected Cavaradossi and a remarkable Scarpia
  • A profoundly beautiful and thoughtful account of the title role allied to Warner's remarkably rethought and disturbing contemporary production make for a Peter Grimes that is outstanding in all ways in Paris

Never miss out on future posts by following us

The blog is free, but I'd be delighted if you were to show your appreciation by buying me a coffee.

Elsewhere on this blog

  • A welcome relief from regular Christmas fare: the Tallis Scholars introduce us to the subtle riches of Jacobus Clemens non Papa - concert review
  • The Nativitythe American choir, Voce in a sequence of carols from Patrick Hawes - record review
  • Like no other: Brixton Chamber Orchestra's Christmas party moved from classical & carols to rap, disco & a Shane MacGowan tribute - concert review
  • Jane Austen’s Music: a life-long obsession - guest posting
  • Pandora's Boxgreat tunes, a neat moral, energetic performances, London Youth Opera premieres Stuart Hancock & Donald Sturrock's new opera - opera review
  • A sense of dramatic narrative: Wild Arts in Handel's Messiah at The Art Workers' Guild - concert review
  • A remarkable cultural synthesis: Vache Baroque & La Vaghezza's A Baroque Hanukkah, celebrations of Salmone Rossi's Hebrew-texted The Songs of Solomon - concert review
  • Arctic saxophone: three imaginative & engaging new concertos from Ola Asdahl Rokkones, Arktisk Filharmoni & Per Kristian Skalstad - concert review
  • Surrender to the gentle magic: Benjamin Tassie combines live-performance & field recording focusing on water-powered instruments to remarkably poetic effect - record review
  • Youthful engagement & Romantic devotion: Claire Ward & JongSun Woo's CMF Lunchtime Recital - concert review
  • The glories of Roman polychoral music after Palestrina explored by I Fagiolini with Benevoli's Missa Tu es Petrus for four choirs - record review
  • Home

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts this month