Posts Tagged ‘Royal Opera House’

Even Cheaper Salome 11 June

June 7, 2012

Covent Garden write as follows:

We have a very special last minute offer for you for David McVicar’s ground-breaking production of Salome.

The last few remaining seats in the Orchestra Stalls are now only £50. (Usually priced at £120, £111 and £106).

Religion, sexuality and perversion are a potent combination in this passionate drama, set to complex, fascinating and richly-textured music by Richard Strauss. The Metro praised McVicar’s production as ‘the real thing’ and described the music as ‘gorgeous’.

Salome truly is live theatre with The Royal Opera at its most intense and gripping, with McVicar’s handling of the tormented heroine both realistic and profoundly sympathetic.

Watch the Salome trailer

Read a selection of tweets from the opening night of Salome

Please note that this production contains violence and scenes of a sexual nature, which reflect the adult content of the opera.

HOW TO BOOK

  • To book, follow this link and select 11 June performance, type ‘baptist’ into the ‘Do you have a code?’ box and click ‘update‘.
  • You can also call the Box Office, +44 (0)20 7304 4000 and quote ‘Baptist offer’ when booking.

Rusalka, ROH Covent Garden 01 March

March 3, 2012

*****

Once again, everyone has seen and and commented on this production and once again Intermezzo has proved to be inerrant.

To my surprise, I was completely captivated by Dvorak’s music here, especially when it got into the hopeless melancholy yearning vein–hopeless melancholy yearning followed by suicidal despair: you don’t have to be a water-nymph to realise these are the eternal verities.  There were some passages of undemanding ineffectuality that were more what I expected from this composer, but who cares?

In the amphitheatre with the kind of view shown above we didn’t care about the shock-horror production either.  It seemed to me the typical kind of modern opera production, especially of Wagner, where what you see on stage contradicts what’s coming up from the pit and in the end the music wins.  My companion pointed out that we couldn’t see the allegedly-offensive details from our distance and it would be very difficult to take take seriously a literal representation of a fairyland-and-castle setting.  The production didn’t get in the way of putting the story across, which must be the main thing.

Talking of Wagner, we enjoyed what must be about the best orchestral playing (under conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin) that I’ve ever heard in an opera house.  And we had a tenor in Bryan Hymel who had completely mastered his part.

What do these complainers want?  Are they listening to the music at all?

Le Nozze di Figaro Royal Opera House 11 February

February 12, 2012

****

Photo of an earlier outing of this production (from musicalcriticism.com)

The evening started rather badly–not only was Bow Street full of fencing to keep proles penned in during the coming BAFTAs, but the place was comprehensively closed up two hours prior to kick-off, contrary to an email the ROH sent out promising business as usual.  Anyway I witnessed a lady with mobility problems and her companions spending a long time trying to get into the glass box on Bow Street or to summon aid or indeed to get in contact with anyone.

Once the management had decided to stop pissing on the paying customers–if only for a time–and let us in, things took a decided turn for the better.  Under Antonio Pappano’s direction the music zipped along very pleasingly, and some very precise on-stage action was greeted with copious and unforced laughter from the Upper Amphitheatre.

I certainly felt a lot more engaged than the previous time I’d seen this production–between us the only thing my companion and I could remember of that outing was the dog.  But I still worried about the design that had a lot of empty space both vertically and horizontally dwarfing the characters.  I thought that this piece was about the characters and their interactions, not the memory of all the dead generations weighing like a nightmare on the brains of the living.  But since the setting here has been updated to a time after the French Revolution, maybe that is the idea.  In which case the Duke ands his hankering after the ius primae noctis is both loathsome and ineffective.

As so often, one didn’t really feel any danger of the Duke (Lucas Meachem) raping everybody in sight–neither he nor the Figaro of Ildebrando d’Arcangelo made that much of an impression on the audience or each other, and it was left to the females to provide the starrier singing, though again it was a team effort rather than a case of starriness.

I was pleased to see that the audience was really quite young (about the same kind of age range you’d see at the theatre) and there were not a few genuinely young people in it.  I opined that while 19th-century opera required you to accept either a demi-monde of women who were not not prostitutes or a romanticised travesty of various historical period or the atrocity exhibition from Wagner, operas from an earlier or later period might be easier of approach at least in this respect.

At the end the ushers barked at us to remove ourselves more quickly so that they could prepare for the serious business.

Pissing on the paying public again!