Love conquers all, kills some, exiles others: Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea at Grimeborn

Ryedale Festival Opera’s version, in a clear and lyrical new translation by John Warrack, absolutely understands Monteverdi’s sophisticated agenda: and, with a talented cast in director Nina Brazier’s capable hands, resoundingly succeeds on all levels, giving us an evening of luxurious beauty, abandoned sensuality and superb characterisation. Click here to read my full review on…

Biting the hand that feeds: Madame X at Grimeborn

Masetto (now an impoverished immigrant artist, more reminiscent of Puccini’s poet Rodolfo than Mozart’s Masetto) and Zerlina (all girlish scruples definitely removed, along with most of her charm) encounter Don Giovanni again in the shape of a cardboard-cutout capitalist, Mr Wilmore, whose seduction of Zerlina this time is bald, transactional and unpleasant: and, worst of all,…

Luxurious, plaintive and dark: Massenet’s Werther, Grimeborn

Massenet’s Werther is a tragic tale of unrealised and forbidden passion between a dutiful wife (Charlotte) and her husband Albert’s best friend, Werther, whose final, violent resolution comes at that most emotionally loaded of times – Christmas. Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther is the original inspiration for Massenet, whose opera (like Goethe’s work) is itself…

Back to the grindstone: The Miller’s Wife at Grimeborn

“The windmill goes round and round… It is a simple life”. The Miller‘s Wife opens, and almost closes, with a similar scene: the miller’s wife in the garden of the mill, while the miller inside pores over his books. However, in this opera, there appears to be no such thing as a simple life. Life, in fact,…