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Articles by John Snelson

‘Heads will roll’: Oriental theatre and the staging of Puccini’s Turandot

6 July 2017

References to China, Chinese theatre and Eastern imagery run through Andrei Serban's production of Turandot.

Don Carlo musical highlight: the Grand Inquisitor duet

16 May 2017

This riveting and sonorous duet for two basses sees two great forces face-off for who shall have ultimate power.

Waltzing down the years: the powerful symbolism of Vienna's defining dance

1 January 2017

From seductive to nostalgic – the fortunes of the quintessential Viennese dance have influenced how we view Der Rosenkavalier.

Painting with music: How Tchaikovsky used the orchestra to create unrivalled ballet scores

24 November 2016

The great Russian composer was a genius in orchestration, but he outdid himself with The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.

Telling Tales: Why Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann is among the most edited operas in the repertory

7 November 2016

The composer died before completing the opera, leading to a great amount of second-guessing as to Offenbach’s true final intentions.

Musical Highlight: ‘Donna non vidi mai’ from Manon Lescaut

13 October 2016

Puccini's passionate aria rapturously describes love at first sight.

A three-course meal: Puccini’s Il trittico and the tradition of piecing short operas together

19 February 2016

Like a collection of short stories or the B-movies of the 1940s and 50s, grouping operas together allows us to appreciate their contrasts.

Lights! Coloratura! Action!: The giddy world of opera’s ‘action’ songs

3 February 2016

Drinking songs such as La traviata’s famous Brindisi are just the start of opera's songs describing action.

Tosca Musical Highlight: The Te Deum

11 January 2016

A stunning musical depiction of Heaven and Hell closes Act I of Puccini's iconic Roman opera.

Cavalleria rusticana Musical Highlight: The Easter Hymn

30 November 2015

Mascagni’s draws on church music in this masterful and intense evocation of a small community and one guilt-ridden woman’s position outside of it.

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