Review of 2011 (Part Two)
We run through the second part of our year review featuring among others, The Metamorphosis, Il trittico and Tosca.
What a busy year we’ve had at the Royal Opera House. From mysterious demonic visitors to human insects, tardy rabbits to Playboy bunnies – our stages have seen them all. We thought we’d take a look at 12 of our stand-out productions from 2011. Following the first six, here are the rest of our top picks…
A whirlwind trip through the sights of Rome (and one of Conductor Antonio Pappano’s favourites), Tosca offered up the thrilling trio of Angela Gheorghiu, Bryn Terfel and Jonas Kaufmann in the summer’s hot ticket. Jonathan Kent’s production, originally staged in 2006, is a firm Royal Opera favourite and didn’t disappoint on its return this year.
ROH2’s dance theatre adaptation of Franz Kafka’s seminal novella saw Edward Watson in the role of Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman who wakes up one morning to discover that he’s been transformed into a giant insect. Garnering critical acclaim, the production was memorable for Watson’s insectoid writhing to Frank Moon’s glitchy, oppressive soundscapes across a stage splattered and stained with gooey treacle.
A diabolical visitor made a memorable appearance in David McVicar’s visually impressive Faust with René Pape as Mephistopheles providing a performance of real personality and depth, prompting at least one reviewer to cry with a wink and a nudge, “It’s one hell of a show!”. Angela Gheorghiu and Vittorio Grigolo as Marguerite and the title character respectively, also impressed.
A rare outing for Puccini’s triptych in October saw Richard Jones direct a bill of drama, tragedy and comedy conducted by Antonio Pappano. Sandwiched between the atmospheric Il tabarro and the famous comedy Gianni Schicchi, the tragic Suor Angelica received particular acclaim for Ermonela Jaho’s portrayal of a grief-stricken mother.
Asphodel Meadows / Enigma Variations / Gloria
Named after the area of the underworld where the Ancient Greeks believed ordinary souls resided, Liam Scarlett’s Asphodel Meadows kicked off a programme centred around themes of love and death. Followed by Enigma Variations and Gloria – a tribute to the dead of World War I – the bill showcased a trio of Dame Monica Mason’s (deservedly) favourite short works and reminded audiences of the talent of choreographer Liam Scarlett.
Featuring the Covent Garden debut of Ailyn Pérez, La traviata table danced its way onto our stage in October in a flurry of ballgowns, champagne and muffled consumptive coughs. Pérez had stepped into the role at short notice during The Royal Opera’s tour of Japan in 2010 to huge acclaim. Alongside the likes of Piotr Beczala as Alfredo and Simon Keenlyside as Giorgio Germont she didn’t disappoint on her first performance as Violetta in London.
What did you most enjoy here in 2011?