Heartworn hoodlums: Handel’s Rodelinda, ENO

Even ruthless, psychotic gangsters have to fall in love sometimes. And Rodelinda is all about what happens when the people at the top of the cruel power pyramid have got their minds on… other things, like other people’s faithful wives, as well as their crime kingdoms. Director Richard Jones translates Rodelinda’s setting (originally 7th century Lombardy) to gangster warfare…

The power of love: Between Worlds, ENO /Barbican

A new co-commissioned production from English National Opera and the Barbican sees Tansy Davies tackle the most harrrowing of modern subjects: 9/11. The opera itself becomes a ritual, an act of communal remembrance through evocation. As you would expect, it is a profoundly upsetting piece. Nevertheless, it is carried out with nobility, grace, and utter…

Razor sharp: Sweeney Todd at English National Opera

There is no doubt that the ENO are making a grand gesture with this Sweeney Todd. It is to herald a new return to musical theatre as a key aspect of their repertoire; it is, significantly, a transatlantic production which points to a strong artistic friendship with Broadway; and they have certainly gone all out…

A fabulous Figaro from Fiona Shaw for English National Opera

Have you ever thought that the first few notes of Mozart’s overture to The Marriage of Figaro sound a little like a trapped bluebottle? Fiona Shaw has: and just as her production opens with one exuberant, fresh-eyed musical joke, her whole vision of Mozart’s masterpiece at English National Opera resounds with wit and energy. Jeremy…