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2021 Season Reviews

Falstaff

The Times ★★★★

“Jamie Vartan’s ingenious sets … rows of sheets hung up on washing lines serve to evoke the town’s streets and the waves of the Thames into which Falstaff is unceremoniously dumped with a brilliant bit of stage management.”

The Daily Mail ★★★★★

“Bryn’s Falstaff is surely now his signature role. It suits both his voice and his temperament. His Fat Knight will be fondly remembered long after he has retired to some mountain fastness in Snowdonia.”

“It was a stroke of genius to persuade another Welsh personage of increasing renown, Swansea’s Natalya Romaniw, to abandon all the dramatic stuff to take on the pivotal comic role of Alice Ford. She obviously enjoys it, and we certainly enjoyed her.”

La Bohème

The Stage ★★★★

“Drawing on Puccini’s source, Henri Murger, Medcalf’s ‘frame’ suggests that the bohemians are role-playing. At the close they open the costume box, don their hats and depart. Mimì is left alone, illuminated by a single lantern. Here is the painful loneliness of death: given what we have all learned, it’s heartbreaking.”

Operawire

“The show has been re-blocked in its entirety by revival director Lynne Hockney to allow for social distancing and other COVID related restrictions. This has been achieved with such elegance and stagecraft that one hardly notices that people are apart; it even contrives, at times, in making balanced and engaging stage pictures.”

Ivan the Terrible 

The Daily Telegraph  ★★★★

“Musically, the evening is strong, with the Gascoigne Orchestra under Mikhail Tatarnikov handling the subtly patterned score with rhythmic exibility and the terrific chorus of around 20 making enough noise for 60.”

“Director David Pountney wants to connect the ruthless Tsar with a long tradition of Russian autocrats – and does so in the evening’s most startling dramatic stroke….”

I News  ★★★★

“David Pountney’s ingenious production, with clever designs by Francis O’Connor, morphs from the era of the real Ivan into an obvious but chilling 20th century, via a robe discarded to reveal military uniform and a familiar moustache.”

The Life & Death of Alexander Litvinenko

Bachtrack ★★★★

“Bolton’s music is engaging throughout. It’s eclectic, varied and pleasant to listen to, with passages of intense lyrical beauty, plenty of thrilling movie-score-like elements, deft pastiches of Russian church music or marching songs, with varying sized chunks of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin dropped in for good measure”.

“The staging works superbly: designer Jamie Vartan gives us a single large set with a few moving parts, which is transformed into many different locations by videos by Will Duke, supplemented by live footage of the performers.”