Tristan und Isolde smoulders at Dutch National Opera

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Dutch National Opera, 18 January 2018

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Tristan and Isolde on a German stamp issued in 1933

After its co-producers in Paris and Rome, it is Dutch National Opera’s turn to present director Pierre Audi’s shadow-clad Tristan und Isolde. In Amsterdam Audi’s lucid visuals complemented a strong, balanced cast. Conductor Marc Albrecht kept a lyrical Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra on a concentrated simmer for the full four hours. This was a Tristan und Isolde to treasure.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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Dutch National Opera revives a musically gorgeous La bohème

Puccini: La bohème

Dutch National Opera, 1 December 2017

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The original Café Momus, the Christmas Eve party venue in La bohème

Benedict Andrews’ staging of La bohème is seriously flawed, but this revival was a triumph, thanks to picture-perfect, vocally enticing soloists and the copiously talented young conductor Andrea Battistoni.

Full review on Bachtrack.

Rigoletto is mad but the singing is fine at Dutch National Opera

Verdi: Rigoletto

Dutch National Opera, 9th May 2017

LeRoiSAmuse

Le roi s’amuse (1932) by Victor Hugo

What happened to Rigoletto after the hitman he hired to kill his daughter Gilda’s abductor murdered her instead? He went mad and was committed to a mental institution. This is Damiano Michieletto’s twist on Verdi’s compact but tremendous tragedy Rigoletto for Dutch National Opera. Although intriguing, the production is overanalytical and is ultimately sabotaged by its own cleverness. The cast compensates with a good old Verdi singfest.

Full review on Backtrack.

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Dutch National Opera revives deliciously dark A Dog’s Heart

Raskatov: A Dog’s Heart

Dutch National Opera, 22nd April 2017

Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940)

Is A Dog’s Heart even an opera? It is sung by opera singers to live music. Alexander Raskatov’s score, however, is secondary to the incredible stage visuals. Whatever it is, actor/director Simon McBurney’s first stab at opera is fantastic theatre. Its revival at Dutch National Opera, where it premiered in 2010, is hugely welcome.

Full review on Opera Today.

The Abduction from the Seraglio a soprano vehicle at Dutch National Opera

Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Dutch National Opera & Ballet, 13th January 2017

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Odalisque at the Sultan’s Harem. From The Costume of Turkey by Octavian Dalvimart, published in London un 1812

 

Lenneke Ruiten is the main reason to see Dutch National Opera’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. On opening night she triumphed as Konstanze, a soprano role that is the vocal equivalent of balancing a water jug on your head while walking a tightrope.

Full review on Bachtrack.

Starkly powerful Jephtha at Dutch National Opera

Handel: Jephtha

Dutch National Opera & Ballet, 9th November 2016

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Jephthah’s Daughter (1876) by Édouard Debat-Ponsan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes the price of peace is war, but the price of war is always ruinous. Claus Guth’s pessimistic new staging of Handel’s last oratorio, Jephtha, illustrates this with scenes of military carnage clad in smoky darkness. However, Guth is probably less interested in such overarching conclusions than in the destructive collision of public ambition and private life.

Full review on Bachtrack.

Bloodless Manon Lescaut at Dutch National Opera

Puccini: Manon Lescaut

Dutch National Opera & Ballet, 10th October 2016

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Casanova (1976), directed by Federico Fellini

Trying to work around Manon Lescaut’s episodic structure, this new production presents the plot as the dying protagonist’s feverish hallucinations. The result is a frosty retelling of what is arguably Puccini’s most hot-blooded opera. Musically, the performance also left much to be desired.

Full review on Opera Today.

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We left at the interval...

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