Terracotta warriors living in a desolate wasteland. A journey through time & space played through shadows cast on a wall. Women fashioned from poisonous flowers and a villain who resided in the pelvis of a woman. And fundamentally, Parsifal turning his back on the Knights following the saving of their King.

It was by turns bonkers and brilliant, and sounded nothing short of breathtaking.

Glyndebourne On Tour 2008

2008 has been (in my opinion at least) something of a vintage year for Glyndebourne On Tour. Okay it benefits from having three admittedly populist productions but then that shouldn’t be held against them when they produce three distinct pieces of this quality.

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Waiting For The Barbarians

Philip Glass falls very much into the Marmite category of modern composers. Even if you like his most popular work (the numerous film scores he has done) there still remains the fact that his more “serious” (read: un-commercial) work can be infuriating. If you need proof of this, try to listen to Einstein On The Beach in a single sitting and then reappraise him. Therefore Waiting For The Barbarians was approached with some trepidation. Even the subject matter (torture and its effects both physically and psychologically) suggested that this wasn’t going to be an easy ride, which turned out to right.

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The Mikado (again…)

I think I’ve been out Mikado’d…

Okay, it must be bad as I’m starting to verb words, but once again I found myself sitting in a theatre on Saturday ready to watch The Mikado. Please bear in mind that this is the third time I’ve seen it in less than twelve months, so I could be tiring of it a little. This time it was the turn of the Carl Rosa Opera Company in Sheffield.

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Into The Little Hill

Into The Little Hill has to be the strangest opera I’ve seen. At forty minutes it doesn’t even feel like an opera, more an extended prologue to something else, but it has a clear beginning, middle and end, doesn’t conform to the parameters of either an operetta or a musical so that’s what its been labelled as. It’s a pity really as it is more akin to a morality tale that happens to be set to music.

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Help! Idiots loose!

So, final night of the weeks trip to the opera for The Adventures of Pinnochio (which was fab). Very child friendly opera, so lots of little ones laughing along and going ah – very cute and not at all annoying (in fact, rather encouraging). However, there was also an outbreak of idiots, many of whom seemed to be in my vicinity.

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Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly has always been a little bit special for me. It was the first opera I bought on CD and the first one I saw performed. I’ve seen it a few times since and every time its managed to wring a couple of tears from me, in fact I’m sure that provided you don’t mess about with the formula too much its pretty much impossible to get wrong.

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GoT: L’elisir d’amore

Was an absolute joy from start to finish.

After the disappointment of Macbeth and the high quality of Albert Herring I had fears that it could go either way – needn’t had. It was presented in a wonderfully breezy fashion, never felt serious and was a serious dose of romance after the first two of the tour. Peter Auty also happened to have one of the beautiful tenor voices I have heard.

Ah, happy days…

GoT: Albert Herring

Much better, you didn’t sit there scratching your head wondering what on earth was going to happen next – indeed it was presented in as straight forward a fashion as possible. problems with the complexity of the set leading to long waiting times between scenes, but this is a negligible issue given the level of immersion they created.

Performances were excellent, with special mention to the quartet of village elders and the whole thing was a joy from start to finish. Considering that this is their “specialist” piece for the tour this year (i.e. played only once whilst the others are repeated at each venue) it seems odd that Macbeth was given a second airing rather than this, far more accessible piece.