The power of love: Between Worlds, ENO /Barbican

A new co-commissioned production from English National Opera and the Barbican sees Tansy Davies tackle the most harrrowing of modern subjects: 9/11. The opera itself becomes a ritual, an act of communal remembrance through evocation. As you would expect, it is a profoundly upsetting piece. Nevertheless, it is carried out with nobility, grace, and utter…

Philip Ridley’s Radiant Vermin for Theatrecat

Radiant Vermin has two strengths. One is its macabre twist, which I won’t spoil for you: but just watch Philip Ridley’s twist grow, strengthen and become ever more prominent, with the characters’ actions becoming ever more hysterical and desperate. The second strength is the sheer talent on stage, with Gemma Whelan, Sean Michael Verey and Amanda…

Seeing is believing: The Blank Canvas by Spyros Syrmos

Charles Bonnet syndrome gives its patients random or recurring hallucinations while they are entirely conscious, without upsetting their mental balance, although the very appearance of the hallucinations can naturally lead patients to question their sanity. For artist Lucy (Melanie Sanders), heroine of Spyros Syrmos’ new opera The Blank Canvas, her CBS hallucinations provoke first fear…

Biting the hand that feeds: Madame X at Grimeborn

Masetto (now an impoverished immigrant artist, more reminiscent of Puccini’s poet Rodolfo than Mozart’s Masetto) and Zerlina (all girlish scruples definitely removed, along with most of her charm) encounter Don Giovanni again in the shape of a cardboard-cutout capitalist, Mr Wilmore, whose seduction of Zerlina this time is bald, transactional and unpleasant: and, worst of all,…

A gloriously inventive night at Tête à Tête: Psyche, On the Axis Of This World and Encounters In The Republic Of Heaven

Psyche – Alex Groves Psyche asks us to get up close and personal with opera (alone, barefoot and blindfolded) for ten minutes, and the results are, to me, spine-tingling. On the Axis Of This World – Matt Rogers Rogers creates a powerful sense of coldness and isolation which fits his subject perfectly: sometimes the music seems…

That Woman: Edward and Mrs Simpson at Tête à Tête

None of our Royals’ chaotic personal arrangements have been so constitutionally cataclysmic as Edward VIII’s passion for Wallis Simpson. Britain’s flag-waving fervour during the Royal Wedding, the Jubilee and the birth of Prince George has provoked Josh Spear to respond with his account of this most dramatic (and messy) of Royal love stories. It is…