Gilbert and Sullivan—and a double dose of Bluebeardby Neil Norman / March 16, 2017 / Leave a comment
Patience English Touring Opera, UK tour 8th March to 3rd June
ETO makes its first foray into the world of Gilbert and Sullivan. While not a repertoire regular, Patience is a rewarding and amusing satire on the aesthetic movement of the late 19th century. The central character Reginald Bunthorne is modelled on poets Algernon Swinburne and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as Oscar Wilde. G&S target the pretentiousness of empty-headed aesthetes as well as taking swipes at romantic love, rural simplicity and military chauvinism. They cook up a storm of hilarious lyrics and delightful airy music in one of their most mischievous works.
La bohème Welsh National Opera, various venues 29th March to 28th April
One of the best productions of Puccini’s classic in the last decade, Annabel Arden’s version (below), made its debut at Welsh National Opera in 2012. Her discreet direction and uncluttered staging exposed the heart of the story. Fuelled by fidelity to the text and the score with effective use of screens and atmospheric projections, this unashamedly sincere production should run and run.
Bluebeard’s Castle/The 8th Door Scottish Opera, Scotland tour (Glasgow & Edinburgh), 28th March to 8th April
Scottish Opera joins forces with Glasgow theatre innovators Vanishing Point for a double dose of Bluebeard. Bartók’s beautiful (but creepy) one-act opera with Karen Cargill and Robert Hayward is matched by a new companion piece, The 8th Door, by Lliam Paterson which purports to fill in the gaps left by Bartók and his librettist Béla Balázs. Vanishing Point’s founder Matthew Lenton rises to the challenge of equalling Daniel Kramer’s blood-freezing ENO production in 2009.