Wagner’s Die Walküre, Secret Opera

Secret Opera’s Die Walküre at King’s College Chapel on the Strand was already the subject of some anticipation from all who had seen their reasonably successful Das Rheingold the week before; but this performance exceeded even my own hopes, with a superb pair of star-crossed lovers, a wonderfully sung Wotan (voiced last-minute from the wings…

Wagner, Das Rheingold, Secret Opera

In King’s College’s highly-wrought, painted and gilded chapel, almost fine enough to be an antechamber of Valhalla itself, Secret Opera’s Das Rheingold opened with a truly magical evocation of the river Rhine. The whole cast formed a stately procession up the aisle to the sanctuary, carrying blue helium balloons whose long ribbons were coiled carefully…

Blame game: Strauss’ Daphne at Grimeborn

Daphne comes from one of the most controversial (read: embarrassing) periods of Strauss’ life, when he continued to compose under the Nazi regime, rather than taking a principled stand (or moving away from Germany). For Strauss’ Daphne at the Arcola Theatre, Dalston, director and conductor José Manuel Gandia took Strauss’ discomfiting collaboration as the starting point…

Bizet’s Carmen, OperaUpClose, Soho Theatre

There is no definitive edition of Bizet’s Carmen. In January and March 1875, two different editions of the score were published, neither of which match the conducting score for its premiere (also March 1875, at the Opéra Comique, Paris). As a result, musicologists differ as to Bizet’s true intentions for Carmen and its characters: the work is free…

Tawdry goings on: Gala at Grimeborn

The topic of Ergo Phizmiz’s small opera Gala is Gala Dalí’s overwhelming passion for Jeff Fenholt, the original star of Jesus Christ Superstar, who was a ‘boy toy’ for Gala when she was 79 and he was 29. There’s a double geriatric sex scene (no fun to witness), and a bit of live rabbit-boiling thrown in for good…

The Lion-Faced Man at Tête-à-Tête

We don’t laugh at oddities of nature in circus sideshows any more: sadly, we haven’t grown out of the propensity, but it’s simply become all too easy (and, for some, lucrative) to do that on television. Any casual flick through the channels will show you society’s appetite for the freakish has not diminished, although it…

Thursday night is school night at Tête à Tête: Sonata for YouTube, Turandot Reimagined

Tête-à-Tête is branching out ever further into new venues. Having been to a dance theatre and a nightclub, we now found ourselves in a school theatre. Fittingly, the evening’s programme was academically focused: Llywelyn ap Myrddin’s Sonata for YouTube, inspired by John Cage, and Jonathan Man’s Turandot Reimagined, which seeks to take Puccini’s orientalist opera back…