All stories by Edward Bhesania on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Mikado review at London Coliseum – ‘looks fresher than it feels’ by Edward Bhesania

Jonathan Miller’s English National Opera Mikado – which transfers the operetta’s action from Japan to a British grand hotel in the 1930s

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Monday, September 2, 2019

A Hand of Bridge/Sands of Time/Le 66 review at Arcola Theatre, London – ‘three operas of chance’ by Edward Bhesania

This fast-paced, hour-long triple bill at the Grimeborn Festival brings together three pieces linked by the theme of chance. Barber’s nine-minute A

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Friday, August 30, 2019

Hotspur/Pierrot Lunaire review at Arcola Theatre – ‘a contrasting double bill’ by Edward Bhesania

With music and words respectively by New Zealanders Gillian Whitehead and Fleur Adcock, Hotspur (1980) centres on Elizabeth Mortimer (1371–1417), the wife

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Friday, August 2, 2019

Errollyn Wallen and Hildegard: Visions at Tete a Tete Festival review, London – ‘stark but bold juxtaposition’ by Edward Bhesania

Though ‘classically’ trained, Belize-born composer Errollyn Wallen has throughout her career embraced pop-music influences as a singer-songwriter. Singing at the keyboard, she

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Tete a Tete Festival review at RADA Studio, London – ‘a music-theatre party bag’ by Edward Bhesania

The Tete a Tete festival’s mixed bills are a music-theatre party bag. There might be the odd liquorice nightmare in there, but

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Anna Bolena review at Longborough Festival Opera – ‘a fine-looking production’ by Edward Bhesania

It is only in the past 60 years or so – since La Scala’s 1957 production featuring Maria Callas in the title-role

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Silent Night review at Leeds Town Hall – ‘involving and thought-provoking’ by Edward Bhesania

With only a month to go before 2019, the centenary of the 1918 Armistice is marked in operatic form with this widely

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Emperor and the Concubine review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘a visual feast’ by Edward Bhesania

A sophisticated but relatively recent theatrical genre, Jingju (Peking Opera) achieved its current form in the 19th century. It draws on many

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Monday, October 1, 2018

The Merry Widow review at Grand Theatre, Leeds – ‘a visual treat’ by Edward Bhesania

One of the most popular of all operettas, The Merry Widow follows the attempts of Baron Zeta, the Pontevedrian ambassador in Paris,

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Die Walkure review at Royal Opera House, London – ‘welcome revival’ by Edward Bhesania

Stockhausen’s seven-opera cycle Licht aside, Wagner’s vast operatic tetralogy the Ring remains the most ambitious (and costly) project an opera house can

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Friday, September 14, 2018

The Second Violinist review at Barbican Theatre, London – ‘innovative and absorbing’ by Edward Bhesania

Following their first opera The Last Hotel, a chilling tale in which a couple helps a woman to commit suicide, composer Donnacha

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Blue Electric/Einstein’s Dreams/Nibiru! review at RADA studios – ‘some strong ideas’ by Edward Bhesania

The one thing you can be sure of with a Tete a Tete triple bill is unpredictability. And yet on this occasion

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Mary’s Hand review at Holy Cross Church, London – ‘well-conceived operatic monodrama’ by Edward Bhesania

The Tete a Tete Opera Festival, running until August 18, thrives on the new and the experimental, so the 80-minute monodrama Mary’s

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Der Fliegende Hollander review at Longborough Festival Opera – ‘beautifully played but dramatically inert’ by Edward Bhesania

In Wagner’s Der Fliegende Hollander, the ‘romantic wanderer’ figure takes on a supernatural element. The titular sea-captain is condemned to sail the

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs review at Coleman Gallery, London – ‘an operatic fairytale’ by Edward Bhesania

If Marvel’s Avengers and DC’s Justice League can do it, then so can opera. For its second production the enterprising company the

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

La Boheme review at Trafalgar Studios, London – ‘dramatic immediacy’ by Edward Bhesania

This is the first of two King’s Head Theatre shows transferring to the West End, the company now having left its home

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Rodelinda review at London Coliseum – ‘bold and inventive’ by Edward Bhesania

Seventh-century Lombardy, the setting of Handel’s Rodelinda, may feel remote even by opera seria standards, but in Richard Jones’ English National Opera

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Barber of Seville review at Glyndebourne – ‘high musical standards’ by Edward Bhesania

It’s a shame, given that Rossini’s comedy The Barber of Seville delivers in primary colours, that Annabel Arden’s production doesn’t match the

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Fever Pitch – The Opera review at Union Chapel, London – ‘an excellent score’ by Edward Bhesania

Written in 1992, Nick Hornby’s million-selling semi-autobiographical first novel about a fan’s obsession with Arsenal has been made into two films –

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Tete a Tete Festival 2017 review at the Place, London – ‘an engine room for new opera’ by Edward Bhesania

With subjects ranging from Brexit to a Mars mission, from Trump to the Berlin Wall, this year’s 10th-anniversary Tete a Tete opera

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Il Turco in Italia review at Garsington Opera, Wormsley – ‘a world-class achievement’ by Edward Bhesania

Martin Duncan’s 2011 production of Rossini’s frothy and at times acerbic comedy makes its first return at Garsington. It’s an evening that

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Fidelio review at Longborough Festival Opera – ‘imaginative and unsettling’ by Edward Bhesania

Beethoven’s message in his only opera, Fidelio, is that love and courage can counter oppression and leverage freedom. It’s a testament to

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Silent Opera’s Vixen review at the Vaults, London – ‘bold, unsettling, riveting’ by Edward Bhesania

Viewed by some as the most crusty of art forms, opera has occasionally tried too hard to reinvent itself, to be ‘relevant’,

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Semele review at Garsington Opera – ‘a triumph’ by Edward Bhesania

Garsington’s new production of Handel’s Semele, directed by Annilese Miskimmon (soon to join Oslo National Opera as Artistic Director), is something of

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Monday, May 22, 2017

La Traviata review at Glyndeboune – ‘a noteworthy Glyndebourne debut’ by Edward Bhesania

Glyndebourne’s website points to the “visual beauty’ and “opulent” production of Verdi’s tragic profile of the consumptive courtesan Violetta and her selfless

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Meet the world’s largest arena by Edward Bhesania

When opera was born, in Florence around 1600, no one could have imagined that it might develop from its intimate courtly origins

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

La Voix Humaine review at Royal Albert Hall, London – ‘movingly performed’ by Edward Bhesania

One of opera’s great (and unsettling) monologues, Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine is a vocal and dramatic tour de force for soprano. Based

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Shahrazad review at Leighton House, London – ‘impressive singing’ by Edward Bhesania

With its golden-domed, Iznik-tiled Arab Hall, the sumptuous orientalism of Leighton House – former home of the Victorian painter Frederic Leighton –

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

La Traviata review at Royal Opera House – ‘solid, but cautious’ by Edward Bhesania

Richard Eyre’s production of Verdi’s tuneful crowd-pleaser returns for its 14th revival, determined, it seems, to earn its keep. With a cast

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Hallelujah: Oratorio Balbulum review at Mupa, Budapest – ‘a unique new oratorio’ by Edward Bhesania

The title alone – Hallelujah: Oratorio Balbulum (Stuttering Oratorio) – of this one-hour work for orchestra, chorus, two soloists and narrator –

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Manon Lescaut review at Royal Opera House, London – ‘breathtaking orchestral playing’ by Edward Bhesania

Manon Lescaut stands at some remove from Puccini’s most popular operas – there are relatively few standout arias, plus something of a

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