I started reviewing for Bachtrack and One Stop Arts in August 2013 after a chance meeting with the Opera Editor in the back of a taxi on the way to Grange Park Opera. Until then, I had just written occasional notes about my personal cultural adventures for my ever-patient friends on Facebook. This website brings both those things together.
So, on this website, you can find:
- My own personal responses to things like Harrison Birtwistle’s Minotaur or the controversial Glyndebourne Ariadne
- Links to my professional reviews on other websites, including Libby Purves’ site TheatreCat.com and The London Theatre Guide, founded by the inspirational Darren Dalglish. Click here to see all my reviews.
I’m a classicist, rather than a musician, and I’m mostly interested in the dramaturgy of things. Hence, my reviews tend to focus on the director, and the stagecraft, rather than technical questions of musicianship.
As a child, I played the treble recorder (and was lucky enough to be taught by first Margaret Thorby, a member of Musica Antiqua of London, and later by Jeanne Dolmetsch), and sang in several school choirs, so my musical experience (such as it was) was mainly Early and Ecclesiastical music, never opera, and never to an academic or professional level. Nowadays I rely on my own continuous wider and academic reading, online research and the Cambridge Companions to composers. And my reactions to whatever I see.
As a classicist, my main interest is Aeschylus’ Oresteia. Studying the Oresteia at Oxford (with Michael Comber) is what first introduced me to Nietzsche, which in turn drew me to Wagner, and ultimately to opera as an art form.
Sometimes, I want to say more than can be expressed in 8oo words – or things occur to me after a few days’ consideration, rather than as an instant reaction. That is why the longer pieces on here are more reflective, and perhaps written on a wider frame, than my shorter reviews published elsewhere.
If you like what you read, please tell me on Twitter @Operissima!