Grange competition 120

News​ & Reviews

The Yeomen of the Guard

this revival shows how to revive G&S today, updated with a light touch that allows the simple emotions to blossom in this supremely effective music

Full review

The Telegraph

Tamerlano

Strong performances and an intelligently modern-dress staging make Handel's darkest operatic drama a gripping evening

Full review

Planet Hugill

Two superb countertenors enact the love-hate relationship between the emperor and his rival in Daniel Slater’s superbly acted and sung production

Full review

The Guardian

Another countertenor, Patrick Terry, is excellent as Andronico. Sophie Bevan is lustrously toned as Asteria, and Angharad Lyddon is suitably icy as Irene. However, it is the veteran Paul Nilon who dominates as Bajazet, singing with intensity.


Full review

The Times

The Grange Festival has a strong history with Handel, but this latest production, directed by Daniel Slater, may be the best yet.

Full review

inews

Raffaele Pe, who not only sings this very difficult music with bravura but manages to inject a kind of bemused humour into the brutal character, forever threatening mayhem against his enemies but never quite getting round to it.

Full review

The Arts Desk

Angharad Lyddon’s sophisticated Irene is the perfect match for Tamerlano, her singing bringing to mind Jean Rigby’s in the English National Opera’s Xerxes with its warm tone and classic phrasing.

Full review

musicOMH

Countertenor Raffaele Pe, a playboy Tamerlano, delivered the goods in style in his showpiece aria

Full review

Financial Times

Italian countertenor Raffaele Pe consistently held the ear and eye, slipping insidiously between dangerous monster and playful oppressor.

Full review

bachtrack

Paul Nilon brings passion and integrity to the hero of Handel's historical epic

Full review

The Daily Telegraph

Slater’s production compellingly realises the spirit of this masterpiece and shows how the formalities of Baroque opera seria can be reimagined to speak convincingly to a contemporary audience

Full review

Colin's Column

Macbeth

This production was a remarkable achievement. Verdi's Macbeth is an opera that is so easy to do badly, and here The Grange Festival gave it to us on a highly concentrated scale, full of character, well paced and with some fine singing indeed.

Full Review

Planet Hugill

The Grange Festival’s Macbeth is a remarkable production musically and dramatically, that drips with symbolism, pertinent symbolism.

Full review

Mark Aspen Reviews

From the Preludio’s dark premonitions, with its wriggling woodwind, through to the slaying of Macbeth, this new production seethes with dramatic tension, and is blessed with finely judged performances from both chorus and principals.

Full Review

Opera Today

The tenors come late to Verdi’s bloodbath, but when they do arrive, it’s pretty exciting. Samuel Sakker is all sob and throb in Macduff’s shattering lament, ‘Ah, la paterna mano’, his fleshy breadth of tone almost immediately challenged by the narrower blade of Andrés Presno’s Malcolm. Their Act IV duet is a highlight.

Full Review

The Daily Telegraph

Myshketa gave us a Macbeth who slid from a military affability to a chilly isolation, effectively capturing the change in character as the bodies pile up. His Act 4 aria “Pietà, rispetto, amore” was one of the highlights of the evening, plangently sung with attention to the text and an elegant sense of line.

Full Review

backtrack

The best of the central performances is Judith Howarth’s Lady Macbeth. An experienced and expert singer, she understands the reason for every word of the text and every single one of Verdi’s notes – delivering both with outstanding authority. Her complex character is firmly and thoughtfully conveyed.

Full Review

The Stage

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is conducted with a fiery intensity by Francesco Cilluffo, keeping a firm balance on the music that romps along, at times sweeping and fierce, then gentle and controlled, and occasionally almost film music-like driving the pace of the action

Full Review

Opera Scene

Belshazzar

the augmented choir of The Sixteen - impeccably disciplined, supremely stylish - are the true stars of this enthralling show

The Guardian

Robert Murray made a wonderfully outrageous Belshazzar, conspicuous in his consumption, omniverous in his sexual tastes and generally self-indulgent

Planet Hugill

The Sixteen and their allies...sang, especially in the sublime choruses of the enslaved Jews, with a heart-lifting power that united dazzling vocal discipline with an emotional force that might have knocked those walls down by itself

The Arts Desk

Robert Murray's Belshazzar steered that very fine line between undue histrionics and credibility very skillfully, and made it possible for one to believe that this personable young tenor was actually a very bad man indeed. His singing was both powerful and beguiling

musicOMH

Murray, in one of his finest performances to date, makes an exceptional Belshazzar, superbly sang, attractive yet cowardly, unthinking and vainglorious

The Guardian

Falstaff

Many bigger companies could learn a thing or two from this astounding little festival that could

Interlude HK

Conducted by the exceptional Francesco Cilluffo, Christopher Luscombe's production for The Grange Festival succeeds beyond any possible expectations

The Financial Times

Easily the best thing I've seen at The Grange Festival

The Spectator

Christopher Luscombe's production is savvily updated, precisely calibrated and musically captivating

The Stage

It's rare to find an evening of comedy that seems so perfectly assembled, but the Grange delivered the full package

Bachtrack

Robert Hayward made a delightful Falstaff, an old roue who has no idea that he is ridiculous but who can scrub up well (for his Act Two seduction scene) when needed. Hayward made Falstaff's self-absorbtion into an enjoyable part of his routine and his nimble performance was the centrepiece which anchored the production

Planet Hugill

Le nozze di Figaro

With a fine cast and a production of rare wit and poignancy, this is one of those occasions which reminds us that Le nozze di Figar is truely one of life's great operatic experiences

musicOMH

Ellie Laugharne stood out as Susanna for clarity of tone and quality of legato; tightly-wound, she showed just the right combination of frustration and amusement. Barely able to conceal her physical repulsion of Almaviva, we were given a women determined to do her utmost to take control of her fate

Bachtrack

Lloyd-Evans and his team ensured that the closing miracle of forgiveness and reconciliation worked its magic without cynicism, with Mihai's Countess no longer a scorned, frantic victim but a vision of healing grace

The Arts Desk

Ellie Laugharne's grounded Susanna and Mihai's sorrowful Countess offer real depth of feeling, and the opera's final healing message of love and forgiveness rings completely true

The Times

Wallis Giunta's Cherubino balances the layered artifice of appearing boyish while more than once playing a boy playing a girl; her innate vocal warmth lends her pubertal pageboy a winning appeal

The Stage

The Abduction from the Seraglio

Things are similarly impressive vocally, with Kiandra Howarth on full throttle as Konstanze, one of Mozart's most challenging coloratura roles.

Classical Source

Copley's production is good fun and plays it by the book, so we actually get Osmin up a tree, picking figs, just as the libretto tells us

Bachtrack

Making stronger impressions are bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu as a grand-scale Osmin who savours the comic possibilities of his role, and actor Alexander Andreou in the spoken role of Pasha Selim - a character to whom he brings considerable humanity and dignity

The Stage

Kiandra Howarth sang as fine a Konstanze as I have ever heard, Christine Shcafer included, coloratura clear and meaningful, line finely spun. Humanity breathed into her character was Mozart's - yet her's too

Opera Today

Il Barbiere di Siviglia

There have been some brilliant productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia but this one beats them all...by a whisker

Mark Aspen Reviews

This was a busily engaging performance, drawing strong performances out of the cast to ensure that the wit and musical brilliance of Rossini's opera came over

Planet Hugill

Charles Rice as Figaro is a charismatic presence right from his famous first aria, while David Soar as the heavyweight Don Basilio also boasts impressive talent

The Stage

With an excellent performance from the chorus and a vivid effervescent sound from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of eminent Rossinian David Parry, this was a corker of an evening - one to catch if at all possible

Bachtrack

Agrippina

In all it's a terrific show, and the only Handel production I've ever seen which obeys the old showbiz principle: leave your audience wanting more

The Telegraph

this is classy, provocative entertainment, and hugely enjoyable

The Guardian

Walter Stucliffe's production trades in the thrills and spills, deceptions, seductions, and revelations, cutting out the recitatives so that the whole thing rushes along as if there's no tomorrow

The Independent

Its glorious music, political satire and imaginative staging make this an absolute must-see production

Bachtrack

There is nothing to equal the collaboration of real experts in their field, as The Grange Festival has demonstrated yet again with this stunning Agrippina

musicOMH

A production such as this breathes new life into Baroque opera, showing to those open-minded enough to see it, how such works can still excite attention and pleasure

Classical Source

This cracking production, with its gripping mix of sex, power, schemes, politics, lies, lust and love, could have been written for the box-set age

The Times

Anna Bonitatibus richly captures the role of ruthless mother

The Express

As the opening offering of its second opera season, this is the stuff that will propel The Grange Festival to the top

Mark Aspen Reviews

Rigorous classical technique underpinned the contemporary stylings; McGregor’s company dancers brought a surging energy, buoying up jewel-like moments from the RB stars – Soares borne aloft, Hayward whipping through the air with fierce determination; an oh-so-delicate Stix-Brunell. It was a fittingly grand finale for this first foray to the country.

DanceTabs

The Grange Festival International Singing Competition

We were blessed with six young singers all at the start of successful careers and all capable of making the audience feel that they would wish to be nowhere else in the world at that moment than listening and watching them

Opera Now

For my own part, I am glad that other people were on the jury, because all the artists brought something special to the afternoon

Planet Hugill

Compulsory Handel Aria in every selection? Now that's my kind of singing competition.

musicOMH

Mansfield Park

David Parry drove this sparkling score forward with ease and drew polished playing from members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Trinity Laban

Bachtrack

a finely crafted, instantly attractive opera

Classical Source

Personality oozes from Sarah Pring's Lady Bertram and Jeni Bern's Mrs Norris

The Stage

I would put an Austen tenner on this becoming a summer opera favourite, not least because it is both amusing and heartfelt. Dove and his librettist, Alasdair Middleton, are in tune with Mansfield Park's sense and sensibilities

The Times

Martin Lloyd-Evans directs the staging energetically, framed by Dick Bird's simple but elegant design

The Telegraph

Dove and his brilliant librettist Alasdair Middleton, did provide us with charming entertainment which was stylishly and slicky staged by director Martin Lloyd-Evans and designer Dick Bird

Opera Today

The grandiose architecture of The Grange was a fitting place to stage this new operatic production of Mansfield Park celebrating Jane Austen's 200th and extending The Grange Festival's successful 2017 season

The Arburturian

Albert Herring

a delicious delight...impeccably directed, conducted and sung

The Times

as delightful as the day it was written

Financial Times

Copley's expertly crafted production extracts every ounce of humour from Britten's cosy comedy; in the pit, Steuart Bedford brings precision and sensibility

The Guardian

This is the best show I've seen there since the daring shot at Prokofiev's The Gambler a decade ago

The Arts Desk

John Copley directs a peach of an Albert Herring for The Grange Festival

Bachtrack

Pinkstone allowed his performance to become more animated and the final scene was a brilliant mixture of comedy and seriousness

Planet Hugill

The cast was a true ensemble one, without a weak link in its golden chain

musicOMH

reassuringly skillful stagecraft

The Stage

Carmen

Bizet's orchestration, sparklingly dispatched by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud

The Times

[this Carmen] has one of the most chilling scenes I've seen in a theatre all year

Bachtrack

Na'ama Goldman, who happens to look a lot like the late Amy Winehouse, was terrifically cast in the title role'

The Arburturian

a vividly engaging account of Bizet's opera performed with a sure sense of style

Planet Hugill

No one could accuse director Annabel Arden and designer Joanna Parker's production of Carmen of not being innovative or accessible'

musicOMH

Annabel Arden's production certainly brings a fresh approach

Classical Source

Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Anna Bonitatibus hit the emotional bull's eye

Bachtrack

Meticulously directed by Tim Supple and inventively designed by Sumant Jayakrishnan

The Daily Telegraph

A bold and innovative launch to the new Grange Festival

The Times

Nilon wonderfully captures Ulisse's noble anguish

The Guardian

Paul Nilon turns in an extraordinary Ulisse

The Stage
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