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Royal Opera 2015 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 a Royal Opera production.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

24 December 2015 at 12.15pm | 33 Comments

Entries for this competition have now closed.
With 2015 drawing to a close, we want to know what your Royal Opera highlights of the year were.

Perhaps Kasper Holten’s acclaimed new production of Król Roger topped your list; maybe it was Hofesh Shechter and John Fulljames’s contemporary dance-influenced staging of Orphée et Eurydice; or did Jonas Kaufmann’s performance in Andrea Chénier make David McVicar’s production your winner?

Whichever production you enjoyed the most, share it for the chance to win a pair of tickets to Nicola Luisotti’s Il trittico in 2016.

Here are some of your favourites via Twitter:

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

What were your Royal Opera highlights of 2015?
Let us know via the comments below.

Competition terms and conditions: The 2015 Royal Ballet review competition prize is two tickets to II trittico 5 March 2016 (evening performance). Closing date for entry is 31 December 2015. 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 #ROHreview2015 or by commenting on this blog post.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

24 December 2015 at 12.15pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged 2015 Review, competition, highlights of the year, opera, Production, review, Royal Opera, Social Media, twitter, win tickets

This article has 33 comments

  1. Dimitrios Gkildakis responded on 24 December 2015 at 11:20pm Reply

    Definitely Andrea Chenier! David McVicar's production was something I was waiting for a long time. Pure verismo magic!

  2. Ekaterina N responded on 25 December 2015 at 10:38am Reply

    For me it was Andrea Chenier.
    Very grateful to David McVicar for brilliant production and to his team for wonderful sets and costumes. Jonas Kaufmann was "a jewel in the crown".
    I do hope ROH will revive it soon.

    • Sarah Hatton responded on 31 December 2015 at 6:03pm

      Jonas Kaufmann in Andrea Chenier was the highlight of 2015 for me.
      A wonderful production with beautiful sets.
      I also adored The Magic Flute - sheer delight.

  3. Robert Williams responded on 26 December 2015 at 11:25am Reply

    Król Roger. This is the type of production which really shows what the ROH can achieve. An innovative production of a piece that is not regular performed and encourages patrons to look and explore beyond the standard repertoire. The set design was fantastic.

  4. Stephen Diviani responded on 26 December 2015 at 11:31am Reply

    'Król Roger', 'Idomeneo', 'Andrea Chenier' with Jonas Kaufmann - who has now, it seems, developed cancillitis - and, lastly, 'Tristan und Isolde', with Nina Stemme & Stephen Gould: I doubt very much that I will hear the opera sung as well ever again. A great year of opera at the ROH for which many thanks. And now Mr Holten has announced his departure, which is a bit of a downer, but, then, they do say that the only constant thing is life is change. And there is the 2016/17 season to look forward to. Happy 2016!

  5. kathleen bell responded on 26 December 2015 at 12:23pm Reply

    I was delighted by two operas that were new to me. In praising Andrea Chénier I'm just joining with everyone else - but I also thought the controversial Guillaume Tell was fantastic, although it took me a while to get into it. When I did, I realised that it brought the opera alive by addressing the questions that would have resonated with the original audiences in Rossini's day. I saw both at cinema screenings (at Nottingham's delightful Savoy cinema), and then watched Andrea Chénier again on TV. It's years since I've been to the Royal Opera House for a performance but am pleased to say I managed to obtain a single affordable ticket for Eugene Onegin, as a birthday present to myself, and I'm really looking forward to this.

  6. Margherita responded on 26 December 2015 at 5:36pm Reply

    Orfeo e Euridice.

  7. Christine Hackebeil responded on 26 December 2015 at 8:48pm Reply

    Don giovanni.

  8. Moira Redmond responded on 26 December 2015 at 8:49pm Reply

    The final moments of Orfeo and Eurydice at the Roundhouse will live in my mind forever, Orfeo hanging down and reaching out his hand as he unhooked himself from his harness. It was quite extraordinary, one of the most beautiful and memorable opera moments I have ever seen.

  9. Chiaki Ohashi responded on 27 December 2015 at 2:38am Reply

    My first highlight was third act of Guillaume Tell. Not the problematic scene, but the 'chaotic' moment at the end when the Swiss pulled out the arrows and started piercing them through mid-air, causing the oppressors to fall to the ground and keep on singing (lol) and Hedwige to pull down the dining set from the table hysterically as if to say "why does all this have to take place in my dining room!!??" The second more serious highlight was the final duet of Jonas Chenier and Eva-Maria di Coigny. Nothing could be more sublime.

  10. Peter Martindale responded on 27 December 2015 at 8:18pm Reply

    Andrea Chenier was the most complete piece I saw - singing, acting & production - King Roger the most intriguing (which should certainly be revived).

    Kasper Holten's departure presents an interesting challenge as well as an opportunity to review and reconsider how opera is presented by the RO.

    I'm not sure how long modern productions have been using literal dramatic metaphors to explain, underline and frequently obfuscate the meaning of a piece. While singers and the orchestra are both constantly praised, it is the productions that are most often criticised on this site and more widely.

    Whether it is Onegin and Tatyana tripping over their memories of their former selves, King Roger's imagination let loose by intertwining male torsos or the deathly white set of Morgen & Abend, our imaginations are directed to particular interpretations and specific meanings.

    Ambiguity is regarded with suspicion, as though directors don't trust us to explore the pieces for ourselves or indeed to come to different and contradictory interpretations of what we see and hear.

    Chenier and (the ENO's) Mastersingers show how direct, unfussy productions can give singers and musicians space to tell the story and audiences the opportunity to understand it, each in their own way.

    None of this means that productions cannot be imaginative, set in different times and places, be surreal or minimalist or even put the orchestra on stage; it means that simulated sex is rarely shocking and more often than not is faintly embarrassing; and it means that actions and settings at odds with the words manufacture a creative dissonance that will only work when they are truly inspired (so for me the last Parsifal production worked); it means we don't need the plot turned inside out to enable the director to achieve a 'coup de theatre' (the denoument of your last production of Wozzeck).

    In choosing a new director the ROH needs first to consider the creative direction it wishes to take. In a few years time it would be great to think that critics and audiences alike would have no reason to carp about either the unnecessary reworking of a plot or about the literal representation of ideas and character that even the librettist and composer chose to leave open ended.

  11. Stephen Judkins responded on 28 December 2015 at 12:39am Reply

    The huge, HUGE moment for the chorus at the opening of Krol Roger. Other highlights this year: when Orphee looked back at Eurydice and the world seemed to stop, and when the distraught Pagliacci looked at himself in the mirror and sang “Laugh, clown, at your broken love”.

  12. 3 truly great nights this year:
    Florez giving a career high performance in orfee, stemme and Gould as perfect a pair in Tristan and Isolde as I ever expect to hear in my lifetime, and a terrific King roger production.

  13. Neil M responded on 28 December 2015 at 9:45am Reply

    I could watch Don Giovanni again and again as my all time favourite, but my highlight was Der Fliegende Hollander. Super singing and a very dramatic and cleverly designed set. I found the clever entrance of the ghost pirates especially spine tingling. My first Wagner experience, can't wait to be back for more.

  14. mark whelan responded on 28 December 2015 at 11:59am Reply

    William Tell at the cinema... Ive never been to covent garden... I want to win...go so much... :) Yes Rossini would have liked this production.. loved the tree and set... fingers crossed...

  15. Louise W responded on 29 December 2015 at 10:29am Reply

    They say never to work with animals and children, yet the exceptionally well-behaved and well-trained appearances of the cocker spaniel in Le Nozze di Figaro, the donkey and horse in Carmen were quite perfect! However, what really stole the show for me was enthusiasm and melody of the children in Carmen! Thank you. Happy New Year.

  16. Juliet Evans responded on 29 December 2015 at 11:13am Reply

    Personally, I loved the Ariadne auf Naxos. A highly underrated opera that isn't done nearly enough, but done in a lovely production with what I think was an almost perfect cast. Karita Mattila was utterly stunning as Ariadne, as was Jane Archibald as Zerbinetta. Personally, I would possibly have preferred a different Bacchus, but overall a truly excellent performance.

  17. Dorothy Ford responded on 29 December 2015 at 11:55am Reply

    Must be Don Giovanni. Who could not be overwhelmed by the set design and lighting, the drama, and the singing? The final dress rehearsal for Eugene Onegin comes a close second though.

  18. Rebecca Walker responded on 29 December 2015 at 12:52pm Reply

    My first time seeing The Nutcracker and it was just the perfect Christmas treat, absolutely loved it.

  19. Douglas Martin responded on 29 December 2015 at 1:18pm Reply

    Cav and Pag just before Christmas. Dramatically convincing, superbly staged, wonderfully played and sung. Worth the trip from Scotland!

  20. Tanja responded on 29 December 2015 at 3:49pm Reply

    For me it was seeing La Traviata in July, with Ekatarina Bakanova as the last minute substitute doing a fantastic job as Violeta. It was a beautiful and heartfelt performance, and if I remember correctly she only had half a day's notice.

  21. Andy Bent responded on 29 December 2015 at 4:35pm Reply

    Hollander was extraordinary! Superbly sung - not just Bryn Terfel but the whole cast - and riveting acting. Wonderful.,

  22. Maralyn Smith responded on 29 December 2015 at 5:33pm Reply

    I loved Mozart's Le Nozze Di Figaro (October) A unblemished performance from start to finish. Looking forward to more performance to enjoy in 2016.

  23. Maria Gallagher responded on 30 December 2015 at 8:29pm Reply

    I brought my Mum to see The Nutcracker on Christmas eve. I've been to the ROH a handful of times before, and so I'm definitely hooked on opera and ballet. However, I always used to come on my own, as most others I know think that "it's not for them". Bringing my Mum on Christmas eve definitely changed that though - who couldn't be won over by the amazing set, fantastic dancers and general magic of the entire performance?! Looking forward to many, many more performances in 2016.

  24. Chrissie Bates responded on 31 December 2015 at 10:06am Reply

    So hard to call this one - so much to choose from. But Cav & Pag wins it for the brilliance of the production and in particular the great directing of the ROH Chorus, and children - both singing and acting. Every moment a gem. Thank you ROH!

  25. Alex Scott- Phillips responded on 31 December 2015 at 3:20pm Reply

    Taking my 6 year old to the nutcracker and watching his total absorbtion of the production. Then Taking him back on New Year's Day for the firework makers opera.

  26. Andrew Clark responded on 31 December 2015 at 4:10pm Reply

    The wonderful new Cav and Pag top for me. Excellent musically, but also loaded with inventive stagecraft that enriched the piece. Also loved Orfeo at the Roundhouse, Orphee et Euydice, Morgen und Abend, and Krol Roger, as well as some old favourites like Figaro, Turco in Italia, and Traviata. A much, much better year for new productions than the last few.

  27. Patrick Murray responded on 31 December 2015 at 4:34pm Reply

    Chenier was a particular highlight early on in the year, with Kaufmann performing tremendously.

    I also enjoyed Madama Butterfly greatly, thought the production was incredible and it's such a brilliant opera.

    Final highlight was seeing Anna Netrebko in La Boheme, especially as we managed to get tickets for only £14!

  28. Sally Allsopp responded on 31 December 2015 at 6:58pm Reply

    Can I share two absolute highlights- The Marriage of Figaro schools edition with 40 of our students aged 13-18 who had never accessed opera- their faces, their thoughts, their comments and their sheer wonder- they seriously are still talking about it-awesome as one of them keeps repeating then today in The Linbury The Firework Makers Daughter- had no idea how magical it would be- perfect production elements, wonderful singing- again I'm in awe of ROH productions- thank you

  29. Nick m responded on 31 December 2015 at 7:58pm Reply

    The highlight for me was Yonghoon Lee's Don Jose in Carmen. His voice displayed such raw emotion, pain and jealousy. Best one I've seen to date.

  30. John R responded on 3 January 2016 at 4:28pm Reply

    This is incredibly difficult, because there was so much to enjoy across the year. From Andrea Chenier (Jonas Kaufmann, absolutely superb), to the wonderful Orpheus and Euridice (and an amazing performance from Juan Diego Florez) to the final production of the year, wonderful performances from Nicole Car and Michael Fabiano in Eugene Onegin. I could chose anyone of them! But, the best has to come down to the final new production of the season - a wonderful production and performance of Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci - which has to be one of the best productions I've seen in a long time: I loved the way the two operas were connected. And great singing from absolutely everyone - including the chorus and a great performance from the orchestra too!

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