Cher Public

The Life and Death of Colonel Canard

La Cieca can’t even

“…the grandest opera houses, where the better tickets are exorbitantly priced, are attended by people who want a good evening out, but are actually presented, as often as not, with what are often called ‘radical rethinkings’ of familiar or even not very familiar works, where the director has chosen to ‘deconstruct’ or ‘subvert’ the opera, so that instead of sitting there passively—this is the idea—the audience will be, in best Brechtian mode, forced to think rather than feel, to feel themselves ‘challenged’ rather than moved.” [The Spectator]

Indeed a great chance to be a canard

“Verdi revered Shakespeare and would turn over in his grave.” [The Opera Critic] Read more »

Broadcast snooze

“There’s no hiding it. I find some passages of Wagner insufferably tedious. Take Parsifal, just opened at the Royal Opera House. Some of the music is sublime, but other bits invariably have me nodding off. I really wouldn’t mind if I never saw another Flower Maiden again. Same with Tristan and Isolde. The Liebestod, the final aria, would be one of my Desert Island Discs, but there are long stretches of act two I’d happily cut. Nor is it just Wagner….” A gaggle of Brits gather for a session of humblebragging, with John Eliot Gardiner winning the palm for sheer “insufferability.” Read more »


La Cieca is sort of out of words trying to describe what makes a great performance of the role of Norma, as opposed to the conscientious traversal of the notes.

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The pearls are clutched

“The gloves are off, the chips are down; my patience has run out.”

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Photo: Robert Workman/ENO

Present prescriptive

“Director Christopher Alden destroys everything Strauss’s operetta stands for”

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God! what darkness dense!

The opening of Calixto Bieto‘s production of Fidelio at the English National Opera provides yet one more opportunity for the fraternity of British critics to flaunt their credentials as a passel of overeducated prats.

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Cricket’s notebook

“From Cambridge, where I live, to Glyndebourne should take 2 hours and 10 minutes, according to Google: down the M11, then the M25, almost to Brighton on the M23, and then through or round Lewes until the first sign to Glyndebourne, two and a half miles before you get there.”

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