English National Opera

  • Review

Tristan and Isolde, English National Opera, review

Much buzz surrounded the opening night Tristan and Isolde directed by the ENO’s incoming artistic director, the irrepressibly optimistic 39-year-old American Daniel Kramer, taking over at a time of great turbulence. It’s not his first production for the company, following Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy in 2009 and a Josef Fritzl-imbued Duke Bluebeard’s Castle which was topical, but a very particular take on Bartòk’s vision. Broadly speaking, his treatment of Wagner’s hymn to the apotheosis of love is a success.  

Medea, Coliseum, London

David McVicar’s production of Charpentier’s Médée – or Medea, in Christopher Cowell‘s felicitously idiomatic translation – is the most brilliant show to have graced the Coliseum in years. It’s by turns bold and brash – how could it not be, given the tabloid luridness of its subject matter? – and it’s also irresistibly seductive, as befits one of French Baroque music’s most ravishing scores which, after three centuries, is getting its first professional British staging.

Observations: The fabulous 'theatre without a director'

As an actor I have toured the world, but always with the hard shell of a play around me. Five years ago I was invited to travel to the Galapagos with my childhood acquaintance, the artist Dorothy Cross. We share zoologist brothers; they are friends and we were treading in their dream world, our strange symmetry!

Independent Classical podcast: Iestyn Davies interview

Visit Iestyn Davies' website and you are instantly seduced by the ethereal strains of Handel's "Eternal Source of Love Divine", a number so amply demonstrating why this seductive young countertenor is making waves all over Europe and America.

Cinderella, London Coliseum

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Cinderella has swift storytelling, marvellous designs and a tender heart. New last Christmas, it has been a success on tour and on television, and arrives at the London Coliseum looking as bright as ever.

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Independent Classical podcast: Elizabeth Llewellyn

Elizabeth Llewellyn is making her English National Opera debut as Mimi in Jonathan Miller's production of La Boheme. As she says herself, that's a little different from bowing in as, say, the Third Lady in The Magic Flute.

Independent Classical: Amanda Roocroft podcast

Amanda Roocroft was a star from the moment she graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music. At 25 Sir Georg Solti asked her to sing Pamina at the Salzburg Festival. She declined. It was too soon. Where would there be left to go? "Hurry slowly" would seem to have been her motto and now that she is playing - for the first time - a diva with 300 years of experience the decisions she has made in her career are more than ever falling into perspective.