Preview: Opera in the City Festival

The Arts are steadily moving east in London. Nicholas Hytner is launching his new 900-seat theatre at Tower Bridge this autumn: it’s been 80 years since London theatre received such a large new forum for performance. Dalston and Hackney are brimming as ever with pop-up arts opportunities, but closer than trendy East London, the City…

Unexpected Opera’s The Rinse Cycle

“A Ring Cycle set in a launderette? Well, I’ve seen weirder productions…”  Unexpected Opera’s approachable and slick reduction of Wagner’s epic starts on a characteristically unstuffy note, and proceeds to soften us up with disarmingly cheesy jokes, some ribald stage antics, and bags of energy. The Rinse Cycle cheerfully pokes fun at itself, as well…

Tempest-tossed on the storm of life: Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer at Fulham Opera

Wagner declared in his 1851 pamphlet Communication to my Friends that “the Flying Dutchman… gives emotionally compelling expression to… the longing for peace from the storms of life.” And Daisy Evans takes this sense of exhausted, eternal displacement as her directoral cue: it is our sudden, imposed rootlessness which puts us all at sea with the Dutchman, lost in…

Wagner’s Die Walküre, Secret Opera

Secret Opera’s Die Walküre at King’s College Chapel on the Strand was already the subject of some anticipation from all who had seen their reasonably successful Das Rheingold the week before; but this performance exceeded even my own hopes, with a superb pair of star-crossed lovers, a wonderfully sung Wotan (voiced last-minute from the wings…

Wagner, Das Rheingold, Secret Opera

In King’s College’s highly-wrought, painted and gilded chapel, almost fine enough to be an antechamber of Valhalla itself, Secret Opera’s Das Rheingold opened with a truly magical evocation of the river Rhine. The whole cast formed a stately procession up the aisle to the sanctuary, carrying blue helium balloons whose long ribbons were coiled carefully…