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Royal Opera 2014 Review: What were your highlights of the year?

Share your on-stage highlights from the past twelve months for the chance to win a pair of tickets to see The Royal Opera.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

22 December 2014 at 3.36pm | 32 Comments

This competition is now closed. Thanks to all those who entered.

With 2014 drawing to a close, we want to know what your Royal Opera highlights of the year were.

Perhaps it was the psychological drama of Die frau ohne Schatten or the baroque delights of L’Ormindo that topped your list; or maybe it was the classic tunes of La traviata or Dialogues des Carmélitesstark poignancy that gripped you most. Whichever production you enjoyed the most, share it for the chance to win a pair of tickets to Madama Butterfly.

We’re also after your favourite Royal Ballet productions of the year.

Here are a selection of your favourites from our Twitter following:

What were your Royal Opera highlights of 2014?

Competition terms and conditions: The 2014 Royal Opera review competition prize is two tickets to Madama Butterfly on 23 March 2015 (evening performance). Closing date for entry is 31 December 2014. The winner will be notified by 6 January 2015. All aspects of the prize are non-refundable, non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for another date. Travel or accommodation costs are not included in the prize. This prize draw can only be entered by tweeting with #ROHreview2014 or by commenting on this blog post.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

22 December 2014 at 3.36pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged 2014, by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, competition, Madama Butterfly, review, Royal Opera, Social Media

This article has 32 comments

  1. Jess Hammans responded on 22 December 2014 at 4:52pm Reply

    sondra radvonovsky and bryn terfel in tosca- making the highly dramatic believable.

  2. sarah thistlethwaite responded on 22 December 2014 at 4:57pm Reply

    I due Foscari literally left me speechless for nearly an hour.

  3. Michael Toth responded on 22 December 2014 at 6:49pm Reply

    Dialogues des Carmelites is my pick for best production. Best musical performance was Die Frau Ohne Schatten, amazing singing by all.

  4. Andreas Polz responded on 22 December 2014 at 6:53pm Reply

    Idomeneo! Brought Mozart back on my playlist... And the impressive stage and play etched into my visual memory...

  5. Brian Barford responded on 22 December 2014 at 9:50pm Reply

    Die Frau Ohne Schatten was the highlight of 2014 - an intelligent and lucid production of a very complex opera. Great storytelling by Claus Guth. And Michaela Schuster as the Nurse was quite demented !!!!

  6. lablady responded on 22 December 2014 at 10:45pm Reply

    As a new opera and ballet fan, without a doubt Joyce di Donato in Donizetti's Maria Stuarda last summer and the ballet Mayerling as my ballet choice. I loved absolutely every minute and both these productions and they have contributed to what I am certain will be a lifelong passion for both the opera the ballet. Wonderful work .. am in awe of your hard work. It is so much appreciated.

  7. Robin Smith responded on 22 December 2014 at 11:17pm Reply

    The highlight for me was the semi-staged concert performance of Ariadne auf Naxos at Symphony Hall in Birmingham. The ROH Orchestra playing in an ideal acoustic, superlatively conducted with fine singers unencumbered by too many theatrical considerations. Glorious. I wish London had a Symphony Hall where we could have concert performances of all the operas prior to the fully staged performances at CG.

  8. Ditlev responded on 23 December 2014 at 12:20am Reply

    The return of Karita Mattila as Ariadne was a clear highlight for me - a fantastic performer singing a new role that suited her brilliantly. What a treat! And a clever production and strong supporting cast (and Pappano too) - a great vending at the opera.

  9. richard dunstan responded on 23 December 2014 at 3:22pm Reply

    many fine performances to treasure, the majority musical rather than visual but the outstanding memory was of the depths to which Idomeneo was dragged; how could such a silly pointless production be allowed past the planning stage; for once I whole-heartedly agreed with RM of the Times and hope Lyon keep or destroy this travesty... which will no doubt garnish awards

  10. Keith responded on 23 December 2014 at 3:23pm Reply

    There have been many fine individual performances this year, but for me two are head and shoulders above the rest. The first is Karita Mattila's role debut as Ariadne (in Ariadne auf Naxos). Imperious, darkly humorous and sung with resplendent tone, she is an artist who always gives 100% and I was so impressed by her on the opening night, that I returned another two times. The second is Nina Stemme who returned as Isolde to universal acclaim. I saw her on the last night and she left me grasping for superlatives. Rarely, if ever, have I heard an Isolde to touch her, and she thoroughly deserved the standing ovation the audience awarded her. Amongst the new productions, Claus Guth's highly intelligent 'Die Frau ohne Schatten' and Martin Kusej's boldly-theatrical 'Idomeneo' stand out. These directors' London debuts were well overdue - I just hope they return soon.

  11. francois responded on 23 December 2014 at 11:10pm Reply

    Loved many performances, but the one I will never forget was L'Ormindo, the best 2014 production

  12. Lidia Bolotova responded on 24 December 2014 at 12:19am Reply

    Incredible Manon conducted by Antonio Pappano who truly drove the orchestra to sympathy with the agony represented on stage. And of course unbelievably beautiful Alice, full of light humour and effortless technicality.

  13. noel patrick responded on 24 December 2014 at 12:13pm Reply

    I have selected two performances at the Royal Opera House this year. Maria Stuarda on the 18th July and The JPYA selections on the 20th July. It is truly impossible to discriminate between equally excellent shows.
    Can a performer like Joyce DiDonato be surpassed, when at the peak of her ability! She was simply brilliant, and yet we returned to hear young artists, obviously greatly talanted, but not as well known, who were astounding. Kiandra Howarth, Rachel Kelly, David Butt Philip and Michel di Souza were all spell binding on that main stage, and as good as any seasoned international star.
    So yes, my No 1 is 'Maria Stuarda', yet at the same time my No 1 also goes to the Jette Parker Young Artists in 'Cosi fan tutti' and 'La favourite'.

  14. Ghislaine Kenyon responded on 25 December 2014 at 8:13am Reply

    Dialogue des Carmelites for the heart stopping music and production.
    Idomeneo - not everything worked but gripping theatre and music nevertheless.
    Tristan - words not enough to describe this extraordinary cast and their performance. Production supported this feat really well.
    Great year.

  15. Gogloridano responded on 27 December 2014 at 12:56pm Reply

    My favourite production was Faust! Joseph Calleja and Bryn Terfel! My, this was magnificent!

    Idomeneo was quite thrillingly iconoclastic; though, in all but music, it cannot truly be considered "Mozart's Idomeneo"!

    Tristan und Isolde, just recently, was astonishing. Just astonishing.

    Angela Gheorghiu as Mimì was wonderful; & Jonas Kaufmann & Kristīne Opolais were excellent in Manon Lescaut. Die Frau ohne Schatten was, I felt, one of the most moving experiences of the ROH year.

    Thanks, thanks, for a most wonderful array of astonishing wonders!

  16. Michael de Navarro responded on 27 December 2014 at 4:19pm Reply

    First, without question, Stemme's Isolde - simply one of the all time great singing actress performances of this or any role - supported by a very fine cast, beautiful orchestral playing and a highly intelligent production. Second, the best Die Frau I can remember. Third, the wonderful singing and conducting in Manon Lescaut (let down, alas, by the production).

  17. The sublime Tristan and Isolde is imprinted on my memory and hard to beat. My favourite last season was the majestic Frau Ohne Schatten, brilliantly staged and wonderfully sung, exceeded a all my expectations for this rarely staged piece.
    carmelites was terrific too.

  18. John Williams responded on 27 December 2014 at 10:25pm Reply

    Die Frau Ohne Schatten was a truly magical and beautiful night at the opera. The sense of witnessing a great production was palpable on the evening I attended. The clarity and sense of understanding musically and dramatically was fantastic.

  19. Richard K responded on 28 December 2014 at 1:21am Reply

    My highlights of 2014 were Die Frau Ohne Schatten - Strauss's opulent score was brought to life in a mesmerising and enthralling production; Tosca - Sondra Radvanovsky delivered a thrilling performance of unforgettable power and passion; and Tristan und Isolde - I was overwhelmed by Nina Stemme's magnificent portrayal of Isolde. Rarely, if ever, have I witnessed a performance of such emotional intensity.

  20. Kathi Palitz responded on 28 December 2014 at 8:10pm Reply

    Die Frau ohne Schatten. Goosebumps stuff. I loved it. I due Foscari also wonderful.

  21. Peter Martindale responded on 29 December 2014 at 5:24pm Reply

    The Strauss was great, and Tristan, and Giovanni; but the ROH is also about surprises. 'Glare' at the Linbury, not perfect, but wonderfully sung and brilliantly played; full of promise.

  22. Kevin B responded on 29 December 2014 at 8:38pm Reply

    Many, many highlights but for me there were two moments where music, production and performance came together to produce complete operatic magic.

    One was the end of Act One of La Traviata with Violetta rounding of her anguished soliloquy with a defiant Sempre Libera and the standing ovation for Diana Damreau as she hit and held those rivetting high notes, followed by an incredible curtain call in which the ROH crowd gave her their all in return. Genuine hair-on-end goosebumps tears-to-the-eyes emotional moment.

    Then, on that same night, the finale of Act Two where Verdi first casts those separate threads, then draws them triumphally together in another emotionally shattering climax. The curtain call that follows - a magnificent tableau in red, green and black - allowed us to pay tribute not just to Richard Eyre's production and the stars of the opera, but also the tremendous talent of the whole cast, the incredibly talented chorus, the unbeatable production staff and the world's greatest orchestra.

    As I say, many, many more highlights, not least the relief that Ms Radvanovsky had survived her amazing dive of the roof of the Castell San Angelo and that Kaufman and Opolais had made it back from post-apocalyptic New Mexico in time to take their well deserved curtain calls.

    Thank you ROH for a wonderful year.

  23. Heather Willson responded on 30 December 2014 at 2:05pm Reply

    Jonas Kaufmann and Kristina Opolais in Manon Lescaut , and Nina Stemme in Tristan and Isolde. Contrasting operas and both wonderful.

  24. Breffni Walsh responded on 31 December 2014 at 1:29pm Reply

    The most wonderful Don Giovanni in February . The staging was inspired, the costumes were so elegant and the performances were stunning.
    It would be the perfect introduction for anyone who might think opera is stuffy or impenetrable.

  25. Christian holt responded on 31 December 2014 at 6:26pm Reply

    Opera - Die frau

    Ballet - winters tale

    Both had great music and were stunningly delivered. Please revive :-)

  26. naomi layish responded on 1 January 2015 at 3:26pm Reply

    I agree with those who felt Di Donato's performance in Maria Stuarda was superb, also Damrau as Violetta. However: this year marked a record for me, returning no fewer than four tickets for resale because of the productions and /or choice of conductors/singers. Ever since the current production team has been in action, the utter travesties on the stage have ruined many operas I have seen this last year and prevented me (after the reviews) from seeing others in the house. Among the most appalling were the Don Giovanni, when part of the last act and finale were actually removed to suit the ridiculous ideas of the producer
    (where were you Pappano for heavens sake!) and the Ballo for two reasons: the dramatically clumsy lovers and above all the mess Daniel Oren made of the score.
    Musical standards at Covent Garden have I feel slumped recently, and am not sure why, but possibly: inadequate rehearsal time, competition with the Met for star
    singers, and shrinking number of top class conductors - all of which restrict the repertory . But above all, the present fashion for promoting producers above both singers and conductors; even reviewers now begin their piece with comments on the production. All a producer has to do is to study the score
    (if he or she can read music) or if not listen to several recordings. Then, however modern the production (I have no objection to updating) it must enhance the work rather than blatantly insulting it.

  27. naomi layish responded on 1 January 2015 at 3:30pm Reply

    PS I should also have mentioned the 'positively last appearance' (?) of Domingo in I Due Foscari, who - however much we admired him in the past- should really retire now, the miscasting of Bryn Terfel as Dulcamara, and the Idomeneo production, which leaves me bereft of words lest I be sued for libel.

  28. Judy King responded on 4 January 2015 at 4:29pm Reply

    I took my 82 year old mother back to the ROH - she hadn't seen all the changes to the building, so it was lovely to share her enjoyment. We went to see Calleja and Terfel in Faust - absolutely fantastic, thank you! Great to meet them at the Stage Door after the performance too!!

  29. Stephen Ratcliffe responded on 5 January 2015 at 1:24pm Reply

    For me the highlights were FROSCH and Tristan und Isolde but I also enjoyed Maria Stuarda. Turkeys were Idomeneo and Don Giovanni.

  30. Lynn and Simon responded on 5 January 2015 at 8:59pm Reply

    We were very moved by Dialogues des Carmelites - excellent production and performances. Unfortunately we had to miss Tristan but found the Radio 3 broadcast absolutely gripping. Wonderful to hear such a musical Tristan and Isolde and were very touched by John Tomlinson's Act 3 contributions having seen him in so many roles over the years. We do hope this Tristan might be included in the next box set of ROH Great Performances! Good also to see Jette Parker artists at the beginning of their careers. We particularly enjoyed hearing Rachel Kelly in a recent recital singing Rossini. Finally many thanks to the Box Office for their excellent service and advice including being able to resell tickets at short notice and to the Shop for sending us a parcel of DVDs in time for Christmas when we were unable to get to London.

  31. John R responded on 6 January 2015 at 12:11pm Reply

    For me, the standouts from 2014 are "Die Frau" and "Ariadne", mainly because they were both "firsts" for me, as I'd never seen either operas before, and both were stunning performances and productions. The rock bottom was "Idomeneo", which was (mostly) wonderfully sung, but the production was definitely a pretty kettle of fish!

  32. Dmitry Bychkov responded on 19 May 2015 at 2:23pm Reply

    Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann in "Manon Lescaut". They are brilliant couple on stage!!!

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