Opera North’s talented and fun-loving production, comprising of eighteen characters, ten dancers and a large chorus, is now showing at the London Coliseum and it captures the hearts of many musical and opera lovers. This is Opera North’s second major revival following The Old Vic’s 2012 production of Cole Porter, Bella and Samuel Spewack’s Broadway masterpiece. Colin Richmond’s bright Elizabethan costumes and flamboyant set designs of Bianca, Kate and father Baptista’s stately home (based off the Shakespeare play) are impressive and ambitious.
Attending the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre for the first time last night, I had a sense that the outdoor, natural setting would make it difficult for other productions of Britten’s opera to compete. This is a collaborative project with the English National Opera (ENO), in hope of introducing dedicated members and regular attendees of the Open Air theatre to opera. And in many ways it succeeds.
I cannot even begin to tell you how uplifting it was to see three-time Academy Award nominee Laura Linney at the Bridge Theatre delivering Elizabeth Strout’s book, My Name is Lucy Barton, which was aptly adapted for the stage by Rona Munro. Tickets sold out fast for Linney and so far the Bridge Theatre has been receiving great reviews ever since its pioneering production, Julius Caesar (read my review here) was staged. I didn’t stop myself from booking a seat for the production after it, Nightfall (my review here) written by Barney Norris with cast actor, Ophelia Lovibond. And here I am again regaling my positive feelings for the Bridge Theatre.
I had the privilege of seeing Hampstead Garden Operas’ 1960s production of La traviata (my review here), yet I missed out on English National Opera’s alternative production that received mixed reactions from the critics. I was quite keen to see their version of Violetta lost in The Day of the Dead-style graveyard, having strange encounters with the licker man.
Last month, Opera Holland Park opened their 2018 season also with La traviata, yet their production went back to the classic and elegant 19th century, where the story had begun. There is not one controversial aspect about it, which does the production a huge favor in my humble opinion.>>>
Pamela Tan-Nicholson’s world premiere of TriOperas is now showing at the Peacock Theatre, and it is exactly what the name suggests. TriOperas reveals the stories behind three operatic epics under the names, Turandot, Butterfly, Carmen Reimagined. Having seen it, I can confidently say those expecting to see classical opera will be disappointed. Nevertheless, this ambitious show, which compresses Puccini and Bizet’s operas with operatic singing, kung-fu, breakdancing, ballet, tap, Chinese lion wushu, acrobatics and salsa, deserves credit for showcasing operatic works in a way that makes opera accessible to young theatregoers.
2018 marks the bicentenary of the birth of Marius Petipa, ballet’s greatest choreographer. Ever since the 19th-century, choreographers have been inspired by his work: his formal patterns, corps de ballet and pas de deux. For classical ballets that have been performed hundreds of times, the stakes are high for new, quality-made productions. Today’s choreographers have to think of innovative ways to retain Petipa’s classical techniques whilst, somehow, reinvent them. On the other hand, conductors and orchestras have to perform Tchaikovsky’s intricate score dramatically and poignantly, just as the composer would have wanted. For the English National Ballet’s (ENB) 2018 opening of Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty, many of its lead performers managed to sweep the audience off their feet. (Indeed, I was one of them.)
Is there enough theatre about sexual assault, women rights and sex education? Given recent #Metoo and #Timesup campaigns, there has been a rising awareness of what has been happening behind closed doors, and slowly more people are opening up about their traumatic experiences. Pearshaped Theatre’s production of the world’s first revenge cupcake company, Conquest, now showing at The Bunker Theatre, is a winning combination. Its writer, Katie Caden speaks candidly about what is often a difficult subject to talk about for many.