Monday, 17 December 2007

La Cenerentola opens at Covent Garden with Kozena, Corbelli and Spence

I absolutely love Rossini's La Cenerentola and I've seen it many times, which is perhaps why I'm so critical of it? I couldn't tell if the rest of the audience regarded this performance more highly than I did, but I know of at least one other person who felt roughly the same.

The review is here:

And a reminder of our interviews with Alessandro Corbelli and Toby Spence:

ROH Cenerentola

Review here:

In preparation for tonight's first night of La Cenerentola at the ROH, two interviews with members of the cast:

Alessandro Corbelli:

Toby Spence:

Friday, 7 December 2007

Bernard Haitink returns to the ROH in Parsifal

Review here:

I think it's pretty shameful to have revived this production which nobody liked last time around. Couldn't they have bought another one in from somewhere?

Monday, 26 November 2007

New production of Turn of the Screw opens at ENO

I don't care what anyone else says, and the newspapers can give it one star and call it soulless and misguided if they want. I loved English National Opera's new production of The Turn of the Screw and I've already booked to see it again!

Read my review here:

Some new CD reviews:
Andrew Manze Schubert
Takacs Quartet Brahms
Jon Vickers Four Portraits DVD:

Friday, 23 November 2007

LSO/Gergiev Mahler Symphony Cycle continues with the Sixth

Una-Frances evidently enjoyed the latest installment, coupled with Tishchenko's Cello Concerto played by Tim Hugh:

Tomorrow: Chelsea Opera Group's Maria Stuarda, Scottish Opera's Il Seraglio, plus several CD reviews.


Thursday, 22 November 2007

An interview with Ian Bostridge; Korngold's Das Wunder der Heliane; Croesus at Opera North; Masur in Leeds

An interview with Ian Bostridge on his forthcoming 'Homeward Bound' series:

The UK Premiere of Korngold's Das Wunder der Heliane:

The Fortunes of King Croesus at Opera North:

Kurt Masur and the Orchestre National de France in Leeds:

A strong cast for Maria Stuarda at Chelsea Opera Group:

A reminder of Ann Murray's interview on ENO's new Turn of the Screw:

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Ann Murray on ENO's new production of The Turn of the Screw; reviews of CDs and DVDs; Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Read an interview with Ann Murray DBE on playing Mrs Grose in ENO's new production of The Turn of the Screw:

An alternative short extra review of the Royal Opera's new production of L'elisir d'amore, this time with Dmitri Korchak as Nemorino:

Catch up on CD and DVD reviews, including Anna Moffo in Madama Butterfly, Genia Kuhmeier in The Creation (EMI), and Colin Currie's new CD, here:

Monday, 12 November 2007

ENO's new Aida; Sibelius chez Salonen and Elder; Paolo Gavanelli interview on L'elisir d'amore; interview with Claire Rutter and John Hudson; CDs

It's massive update time again:

ENO's new Aida:

Interview with Claire Rutter and John Hudson on ENO's new Aida:

Interview with the great Paolo Gavanelli on Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore:

Hugo's reviews of all four of Salonen's Sibelius concerts at the Barbican:

Mark Elder and the Halle doing Sibelius: The Origin of Fire in Manchester:

Hugo on the completion of Schubert's 'Unfinished':

Agnes on Mark Elder's celebration of the Elgar anniversary with the LPO:

Una-Frances' feature on the Sibelius anniversary:

Patrizia Ciofi in Bellini's La straniera at the RFH for Opera Rara:

ENO's new production of The Coronation of Poppea with Kate Royal:

Cardiff Singer of the world Rosenblatt Song Prize winner Elizabeth Watts in Handel's Semele:

Alex Reedijk, director of Scottish Opera, on the Five:15 project:

The Barbican announces details of their 2008-09 season, including several Handel operas and oratorios, a residency with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly, Simon Keenlyside, Angelika Kirchschlager and much more:

John Eliot Gardiner embarks on his Brahms cycle with the ORR:

Mary reviews two concerts in Edinburgh:

Vivaldi's Atenaide on Naive:

Amanda Roocroft's sensational new CD on Onyx, including Tchaikovsky songs:

DVD review of The Callas Conversations Vol II on EMI:

Lang Lang plays Beethoven's First and Fourth Piano Concertoson Deutsche Grammophon:

Boulez's new recording of Mahler's Eighth:

All these and many more can be found on

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

September-October 2007: The ROH Ring, ENO's Carmen, Interviews with Rosalind Plowright, Andrew Kennedy and Laurence Cummings

I've just got back from an extraordinary week at the Royal Opera House, where Keith Warner's amazing production saw through some musical dips:

Meanwhile, my review of ENO's new production of Carmen by Sally Potter has caused undue controversy:

Hugo enjoyed The Magic Flute at ENO, the last revival of the Hytner production, as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Riccardo Muti:

A dull start to the ROH season with Iphigenie en Tauride:

Fantastic interviews with Sally Potter, Rosalind Plowright, Andrew Kennedy, Krzystof Szumanski and Laurence Cummings:

We've had some excellent and not so excellent CDs to review lately, including albums by Gheorghiu, Florez and Royal, Rene Jacobs' recording of Don Giovanni and Ariane et Barbe-Bleue by Dukas:

Finally, we enjoyed concerts celebrating Sir Colin Davis' 80th birthday and the start of the LPO's 75th anniversary season:

Don't forget to keep checking back soon for reviews of Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Donizetti's Rita, Dido and Aeneas, the student Rheingold performance, and much more!


Tuesday, 11 September 2007

BBC Proms 2007 Retrospective

Check out the website for our BBC Proms 2007 Retrospective

What are your views on the 2007 season? Did Nicholas Kenyon leave on a high? And how will Roger Wright Fare next year? Post your comments here!

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Susan Graham interview on Iphigenie en Tauride at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

I've just posted my interview with the lovely Susan Graham, who's appearing in Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, from 10 September 2007. It's full of insights about her approach to the role and Robert Carsen's production.

You can read the article by clicking here.

Saturday, 25 August 2007


Hello everyone,

Check out the new-look for all the latest news, reviews, interviews and features on classical music and opera in the UK and beyond.

Current reviews include most of the final three weeks of the Proms; recordings of Mozart operas, Koessler chamber music and Verdi's Il trovatore from Bregenz;
 and an interview with Sicilian tenor Marcello Giordani on 
singing Berlioz's La damnation de Faust.

Join us at

and join our new Facebook account to enter the debate.

Dominic McHugh

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Viktoria Mullova plays Bach

Not an overwhelming success in Hugo's opinion, Mullova's Bach CD nevertheless gained a 5 star review and was record of the month for the BBC Music Magazine:

Prom 14: The Seasons

Hugo's inaugural live review for us was an outstanding performance of Haydn's lesser known oratorio by Roger Norrington:

Prom 13: Brett Dean

A world premiere by Brett Dean overshadows Beethoven 7:

Prom 15: Verdi's Macbeth

I realise that for many this was a wonderful evening, but I sat through it with the critical edition of the score in my hands and wondered many times where certain gestures, tempi and note lengths were coming from:

La traviata at Opera Holland Park

I rather liked Holland Park's production of Traviata. Unlike Richard Eyre's heavy ROH production, it has a light touch that is in keeping with the opera itself:

American Jubilee: CD review

Erich Kunzel conducts the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra - sometimes ponderously - in American music:

Prom 19: Halle/Elder - Strauss, Britten and Nielsen

Evidently a mixed affair, not helped by the late indisposition of Lisa Milne:

L'amore dei tre Re opens at Opera Holland Park

One of the highlights of the year: Opera Holland Park have uncovered a lost masterpiece:

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

The Making of Music review

Hugo waded through all six hours of James Naughtie's new history of music:

Lucio Silla DVD and Madama Butterfly CD

The sensational latest release from ROH Heritage: Victoria de los Angeles in Madama Butterfly:

Not a captivating production, but a musically riveting DVD of Mozart's early opera seria Lucio Silla from Salzburg:

Rigoletto: Royal Opera House, Patrizia Ciofi

A very mixed affair, the opening night of the current revival of Rigoletto at Covent Garden:

Cosi fan tutte: Royal Opera House, Colin Davis, Thomas Allen, Rebecca Evans

An excellent opening night for the latest revival of Jonathan Miller's production of Cosi fan tutte:

Ana James: interview with the Jette Parker Young Artist

It was good to catch up with Royal Opera Young Artist Ana James.

First night of the Proms 2007: BBC Prom 1:

William attended the First Night of the Proms, an evidently mixed affair, with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Elgar's Cello Concerto only partially successful:

Prom 4 review: Antonio Pappano, Colin Lee, Joyce DiDonato, Janice Watson, Academy of Sanata Cecilia, Rome, BBC Proms

Although it's hard to get to grips with Berio's Sinfonia, the second half of this Prom was astonishing.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Bryn Terfel in Sweeney Todd; Rebecca Evans, Patrizia Ciofi and Lawrence Brownlee interviews; CD label launch

First of all, a reminder to enter our exciting competition:

It's been another busy week. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the new release from Michael Storrs Music, the new CD label:

I was disappointed by the RFH's Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel:

I enjoyed interviewing Rebecca Evans, Patrizia Ciofi and Lawrence Brownlee:

Don't forget the competition! The prizes are great.

Until next time, take care.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

The big update...

It has been a time of hyperactivity here at, and the blog hasn't been updated for ages! Still, there's plenty to enjoy from the worlds of opera and classical music in the UK.

First of all, don't miss the opportunity to enter our competition to win a copy of James Naughtie's new history of music for the BBC. This six-CD set is a fabulous prize!

Tosca opened at the Royal Opera House the other night, with Violeta Urmana in the title role:

Michael Ball was dazzling - a real stage animal - in the ill-fated Kismet at ENO:

Colin Davis once more excelled in Berlioz, performing Benvenuto Cellini with the LSO:

I interviewed the absolutely gorgeous Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans about her forthcoming appearance as Despina in Cosi fan tutte at the ROH - her last time in the role - as well as talking about the first time she met Bryn Terfel (before he was famous!):

We review Stolen Notes, the CD from the new record label Michael Storrs Music - all great Verdi arias and excerpts:

Renee Fleming returned to London to sing the title role in Massenet's Thais in concert at the ROH:

Alfred Brendel joined Christoph von Dohnanyif or Beethoven at the newly refurbished Royal Festival Hall:

Opera Holland Park excelled in Rossini's The Barber of Seville:

Una-Frances reviewed Marin Alsop's unusual presentation of The Rite of Spring:

and Agnes heard Charles Mackerras and Mitsuko Uchida performing Mozart and Janacek:

In the next week, expect reviews of Rigoletto, Sweeney Todd, Lakme and the First Night of the Proms, as well as interviews with Lawrence Brownlee about singing Rossini's Stabat Mater at the Proms and Patrizia Ciofi on Rigoletto at Covent Garden!

Saturday, 23 June 2007

ROH Katya Kabanova; Violeta Urmana interview on Tosca; Madama Butterfly at Scottish Opera; CDs

Another busy week at

Agnes saw Katya Kabanova at the Royal Opera House on Tuesday, in what may be Charles Mackerras' final performance of the piece:

I interviewed Violeta Urmana about singing Tosca at Covent Garden:

Mary reviewed Madama Butterfly in Edinburgh:

I was wowed by one of the latest ROH Heritage recordings - Solti's third production as ROH Music Director, Don Giovanni:

We reported on cast changes in this week's LSO performances of Benvenuto Cellini and ROH Thais:

Shen Yang was crowned Cardiff Singer of the World:

Rosalind Plowright, Stuart Burrows and Emma Kirkby were honoured by the Queen:

I reviewed a peculiar DVD of Sergiu Celibidache conducting Mozart and Schubert:

Keep reading!


Friday, 15 June 2007

New CDs; LSO/Gergiev; Schiff Festival

Una-Frances wrote her first review, of the LSO and Valery Gergiev performing Petrushka:

Agnes provided a summation of her thoughts on the Schiff-Mikrokosmos Quartet's Bartok Festival:

William reviewed the Halle's latest CD, with Mark Elder conducting Wagner to vivid effect:

Mary reviewed the Nash Ensemble's Brahms CD:

Oh yes, and me. I previewed Scottish Opera's 2007-08 season in anticipation of Mary's reviews next week:

I regretted not enjoying the Vasari Singers' latest CD:

Don't forget the Cardiff Singer of the World Blog. Jacques Imbrailo was absolutely robbed tonight!:

Until next time...keep reading!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

La clemenza di Tito; Don Giovanni

David McVicar's production of Mozart's penultimate opera returned to ENO:

Francesca Zambello's production of Don Giovanni returned to Covent Garden with a mixed cast:

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Opera Holland Park re-opens; Charities Philharmonia

It was good to see that the new canopy and foyer spaces at Holland Park Opera have retained the best of the old while bringing a new lease of life to proceedings. I especially like the new seats!

The opening production of Nabucco had its odd points but was genuinely stirring:

Jenufa is unmissable for its stars, Anne Sophie Duprels and Anne Mason:

Meanwhile, over at St John's Smith Square, we caught up with the latest concert by the Charities Philharmonia:

Monday, 4 June 2007

Elgar's The Kingdom: Halle/Elder

An interesting evening at the Bridgewater Hall with Elgar's third oratorio. I'm not sure it competes with The Dream of Gerontius in my affections, but it was worth a hearing to say the least:

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Elgar in his Kingdom: Halle/Elder

Another outstanding evening from the Halle at the top of their game in the Second Symphony and Cello Concerto of Elgar:

Friday, 1 June 2007

Kyle Ketelsen interview; Death in Venice at ENO; Jansons' recording of Mahler 1; Royal Opera House buys Opus Arte DVD

I enjoyed catching up again with Kyle Ketelsen, the American bass whose recent appearances in Orlando and Figaro at Covent Garden were memorable. He's back to play Leporello in Don Giovanni and I also chatted to him about doing Escamillo in next year's revival of Carmen:

Agnes caught up with the second performance of ENO's new production of Death in Venice, directed by Deborah Warner and starring Ian Bostridge; new Music Director Edward Gardner showed promise in the pit:

In exciting news, the Royal Opera House announced the takeover of Opus Arte DVD productions, the wider ramifications of which I discussed in my news article:

Finally, yet another 5-star rated CD. Yes, there have been a few of them lately, but can I help it if everything is great?! Mariss Jansons truly gets to the heart of Mahler's First Symphony with the Royal Concertgebouw:

Coming soon: reviews of the Halle Orchestra's Elgar weekend, the LSO's latest CD, opera in Scotland and a revival of Don Giovanni at Covent Garden. Stay tuned, Dominic.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Jordi Savall; Strauss Lieder; La donna del lago; Bartok Two-piano music

5-star review of Jordi Savall's viola da gamba concert at the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music:

Opera Rara's new release of La donna del lago from last year's Edinburgh Festival:

Anne Schwanewilms sings Strauss Lieder - Hyperion's Complete Strauss Lieder Vol 2:

Bartok music for two pianos:

Check back soon for reviews of Colin Davis and the ECO, Orfeo at SJSS, Death in Venice and Fidelio at Covent Garden

Monday, 14 May 2007

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Owen Wingrave and Murray Perahia

The Royal Opera's new production of Owen Wingrave in the Linbury Studio Theatre:

Murray Perahia's concert at the Barbican Hall:

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

On the Town

ENO's 2005 production of Leonard Bernstein's On the Town returned to the Coliseum last night:

Not to be missed!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Netrebko and Villazon Duets; Dom Sebastien

New CD reviews:

Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko duet their way through Verdi, Massenet, Bizet and others:

Donizetti's last opera, Dom Sebastien, roi de Portugal, comes in a sublime live recording from Covent Garden:

Stiffelio returns to Covent Garden

After a twelve-year absence, Verdi's sixteenth opera returns to the Royal Opera House with Jose Cura in the title role:

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Jacques Imbrailo on Owen Wingrave

The young baritone, who is this year's South African entrant for the prestigious Cardiff Singer of the World competition, talks about his role in the Royal Opera's production of Britten's Owen Wingrave in the Linbury Studio Theatre:

ENO announces the 2007-8 Sky Arts Season

English National Opera has announced details of their 2007-8 season, which is sponsored by Sky Arts as part of a unique £5 million, six-year deal. The eleven new productions and three revivals include Aida, Carmen, The Turn of the Screw and Der Rosenkavalier.

For more details see

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Andras Schiff and Friends talk about the QEH's Bartok Festival

A special preview feature with interviews and commentary on the forthcoming Bartok festival curated by Andras Schiff at the Queen Elizabeth Hall:

Rossini: Salon Songs

Miah Persson and Bruce Ford sing Rossini songs at the Queen Elizabeth Hall:

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Satyagraha, Nicole Cabell, Maria Stuarda, Nina Stemme's Strauss

Review of the UK premiere of Glass' Satyagraha:

Nicole Cabell's sensational debut CD:

Opera Rara: Mercadante's Maria Stuarda, regina di Scozia:

Nina Stemme: Strauss' Four Last Songs:

Friday, 6 April 2007

Jose Cura interview

Jose Cura talks about his role in Verdi's Stiffelio - and his desire to play the title role in Britten's Peter Grimes:

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

The Royal Opera announces the 2007-8 season

The Royal Opera has announced the 2007-8 season, including new productions of Verdi's Don Carlo and Strauss' Salome, as well as returns for La traviata, Carmen, Simon Boccanegra, Le nozze di Figaro, The Magic Flute and Tosca.

For more info, see:

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Edinburgh Festival 2007-8 Preview

Finally announced, this year's festival features a string of operas and concerts on themes that go to the very heart of the business of making music:

Also of interest: the new season at the Royal Festival Hall:

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Update: Holl/Schiff, Barbican Preview et al

New and recent articles of interest:

Schubert Lieder at QEH with Robert Holl and Andras Schiff

Great Performers at the Barbican Preview 2007-8

Interview with the mezzo-soprano Christine Rice on her forthcoming ROH role

Simon Rattle's new recording of Brahms' German Requiem

Opera Holland Park's eclectic Summer 2007 Preview

The LSO's new recording of Sibelius Symphony No 2 and Pohjola's Daughter with Colin Davis

Bryn Terfel and Sarah Connolly at the Barbican

The Tempest at the Royal Opera House


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