Bonkers, busy Bizet: Pop Up Opera’s Le docteur Miracle

Bizet’s Le docteur Miracle is no serious opera: it is, by contrast, frivolous in the extreme. Uniquely among operettas, it contains a (beautifully-written) quartet in praise of an omelette – which turns out to be inedible, though musically mouthwatering. A sense of paranoid surrealism abounds. There’s something innately French about proceedings, yet it plays directly to British sensibilities…

Sob-along-a-Verdi: OperaUpClose’s La Traviata

La Traviata has always been up close and personal. Its 1853 première was actually a critical failure, due to a revolutionary decision by Piave, Verdi’s librettist, to give the opera a contemporary setting – something which the Venetian audience had never seen before. Revived a year later, but this time in a Louis XIV setting,…

Don’t sleep now: Black Sand at Tête à Tête

What began as an operetta at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama has now developed into a full opera for the Tête à Tête opera festival at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith. Black Sand, with music by Na’ama Zisser and words by Samantha Newton, is about insomnia, insanity, love and sleep – and the Sandman. And it’s really rather creepy.…