Songs of innocence and experience: Verdi’s Falstaff at Garsington

Bruno Ravella’s fast-paced direction for Garsington Opera honours Falstaff’s intense immediacy with a clear emphasis on dynamic physical and visual comedy underpinned by taut stagecraft, while still allowing time for its vital moments of pathos to breathe on stage in this subtle, elegant production. Henry Waddington’s dextrous characterisation means Falstaff’s connection to Rigoletto, another Verdi tortured clown, feels unmistakeable.…

Preview: Waterperry Opera Festival

It’s not every summer England sees a brand new garden opera festival coming to life. Waterperry Opera Festival is not only new, but innovative and ambitious, opening with a range of pieces broad enough to welcome a wide audience, deconstructing and disrupting the classic English summer opera formula (though picnics are still definitely encouraged). Four…

Resurrection par excellence: Handel’s Messiah, Merry Opera

We gather in the glorious Arts and Crafts surroundings of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Lowestoft, one of Suffolk’s most beautiful Catholic churches, on a summery April evening while the kittiwakes scream overhead. Merry Opera’s cast gradually file in, dressed in everyday clothes: twelve men and women from all walks of life, approaching the…