A game of two halves: Ariadne auf Naxos at Longborough

Should divine visions of philosophical beauty be cut short by practical things like food or fireworks? Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos is an opera of two worlds in collision, and Anthony Negus, conducting the Longborough Orchestra, worked the score’s lightning moodswings and dreamily re-echoed themes into a glittering, believable whole. Stunning central performances by Clare Presland,…

Shame, camera, action: Verdi’s La traviata at Longborough

Heavyweight opera behemoth /institution La traviata is always in need of agile, intelligent reworkings like Longborough’s intriguing new production. Daisy Evans’ incisive update makes Violetta Valéry a Hollywood filmstar in the late Fifties, taking inspiration from the celebrated, yet tortured life of Marilyn Monroe. While this has certainly been done before (memorably by Grange Park Opera in 2014), Evans’…

Who pulls the strings? Mozart’s Magic Flute at Longborough

Like Glyndebourne’s recent Rinaldo, Longborough’s Magic Flute seems to take shape as a young boy’s daydream, or perhaps the world of his storybook coming to life in his imagination. A sense of dreamlike surrealism never quite fades from the stage: magic feels real in Thomas Guthrie’s vivid production, thanks to the skilful use of puppetry throughout the…

Pain and purity: Janáček’s Jenůfa at Longborough

Among the many operas in the canon thrumming with drama and violence, Jenůfa remains notably dark, shocking in its bleak brutality, barely relieved by a final discovery of true love which only comes to the shattered characters at an appalling price. Consequently, Jenůfa presents a real challenge for directors, because if the tension drops for even a few seconds…