Photo: The Skating Rink

"Raucous and tender beauty": The best opera this month

Robert Carsen’s scintillating version of Falstaff is a riot of colour
June 16, 2018


Royal Opera House, 7th to 21st July

Verdi’s final opera, which distils Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor and the Henry IV plays, is a thing of raucous and tender beauty. Premiered in Milan in 1893, it was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. Robert Carsen’s scintillating version, set in the 1950s, is a riot of colour. It takes a big man to inhabit the central role and they don’t get much bigger than Bryn Terfel—opera’s answer to Meatloaf—who has the voice and comedy chops to match. Carsen returns to direct while the orchestra is in the capable hands of Nicola Luisotti. Best news of all for equine-fanciers is the return of Rupert in the role of Louis the horse.

The Skating Rink

Garsington Opera, 5th to 16th July

Based on the novel by Roberto Bolaño, this new opera by librettist/playwright Rory Mullarkey and composer David Sawer is an enticing prospect. Combining a trio of love stories, thriller elements and real skating, it tells of Nuria, a beautiful skater, and the man obsessed with her. Nuria is sung by Australian soprano Lauren Zolezzi. Director and designer Stewart Laing makes his Garsington debut in this world premiere which might be subtitled “Murder on Ice.”


Investec Opera Holland Park, 14th to 28th July

Pietro Mascagni’s rarely performed opera receives a welcome revival at Holland Park in a new production with New York City Opera. Written in 1911 to a libretto by Luigi Illica, this adaptation of the medieval legend of Lady Godiva fuses the suspense and violence of Cavalleria Rusticanawith delirious Wagnerian harmonies. Soprano Anne Sophie Duprels sings the title role.