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What was your Royal Opera highlight of 2018?

Let us know your favourite opera moment to be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

27 December 2018 at 2.37pm | 158 Comments

As the curtain comes down on another eventful year, we're taking a look back at your highlights from a year of Royal Opera performances on the Covent Garden stage.

Were you moved by Macbeth? Did you love Lohengrin? Crazy about Carmen? Did you discover a new favourite composer, or perhaps a new production?

We'd love to hear your favourite moments of 2018. Anyone who shares their thoughts on this blog post, via Twitter using the hashtag #ROHreview2018, or on the Facebook post sharing this blog will be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to Gounod's Faust.

Here's a few of your responses from Twitter:

Competition terms and conditions: The 2018 Royal Opera review competition prize is two tickets to Faust on 3 May. Closing date for entry is 4 January 2019. The winner will be notified by 6 January 2019. 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 #ROHreview2018 or by commenting on this blog post, or on the Facebook post sharing this blog.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

27 December 2018 at 2.37pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged

This article has 158 comments

  1. Peter Lewis responded on 27 December 2018 at 6:06pm Reply

    A mixed year, as usual. Some highlights a few average but the odd duffer. Highs for me were Tosca (supreme cast of Gheorghui, Calleja etc) and Macbeth (Netrebko). Low was a dire production of Carmen. The real highlight at The House was Swan Lake with the sublime Nunez. I really hope that 2019 lives up to its promise.

  2. Simon Smith responded on 27 December 2018 at 8:39pm Reply

    The Ring Cycle - first time in 20 years for me and a fabulous musical and theatrical experience, clearly benefiting from so much rehearsal and team work. An astonishing Nina Stemme leading a first class cast with Antonio Pappano conjuring his magic from the orchestra and singers throughout the four evenings. Brilliant to have the performances broadcast on Radio 3.

  3. Cate Rowntree responded on 28 December 2018 at 8:25am Reply

    I have had many very enjoyable visits to the opera this year. Some of the highlights have been Macbeth and the Ring but best of all was bringing my four year old granddaughter to a Family Sunday just before Christmas. It was beautifully organised and presented. We both had a wonderful time. It was a great introduction for her to a place I’ve been visiting with enormous enjoyment for 50 years. Thank you so very much

  4. Coppelia responded on 28 December 2018 at 10:20am Reply

    In no particular order:

    1. Macbeth
    2. Siegfried
    3. The Return of Ulysses @ The Roundhouse

  5. Noel Patrick responded on 28 December 2018 at 10:33am Reply

    I was in London (unplanned) and a friend was able to get me a ticket to see La Boheme starring Matthew Polanzani. He was just fantastic. Excellent production all round.
    I was able to combine this with the Jette Parker 'young artists' concert. As always (this one being the 5th time I've attended it) it was exceptional.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all at the ROH.

  6. Nigel Ashton responded on 28 December 2018 at 11:53am Reply

    Carmen production was astonishing, the best interpretation I have seen in over 40 years of attending ROH. Nina Stemme simply world class.
    A magnificent year.

  7. Lulu Vienna Fish responded on 29 December 2018 at 8:48am Reply

    Swan lake, La Bayadere and Nutcracker from Vadim & Nela are absolutely sensational.

  8. Liza Tuffrey responded on 29 December 2018 at 9:31am Reply

    It’s been such a year.... but if i HAD to pick one moment it would have to be Diana Damrau performing in The Magic Flute as Queen of the Night. Unforgettable ! Thank you ROH for 2018.... I cannot wait for 2019 and all it promises. Faust making a return is so exciting !

  9. Teresa Guerreiro responded on 29 December 2018 at 10:42am Reply

    George Benjamim's Lessons in Love and Violence.

  10. Roger Taylor responded on 30 December 2018 at 12:28am Reply

    Definitely the Ring Cycle. And within this the highlight was Nina Stemme singing the role of Brunnhilde in the immolation scene in Gotterdammerung.

  11. Josephine Reilly responded on 30 December 2018 at 7:48pm Reply

    Tosca in February and Macbeth in April were both stunning. Absolutely love Anna Netrebko! Love all of Antonio Pappano's work, would love to see one of his live! Attend as many cinema relays as I can, would love to see the opera house again some day.

  12. Caroline clegg responded on 31 December 2018 at 4:40pm Reply

    La Bayadère

  13. Robin Smith responded on 31 December 2018 at 5:32pm Reply

    So many wonderful memories of 2018 performances. Particular highlights;
    Lohengrin/Wagner/Nelsons/Vogt/Davis/Goerke - Superb soloists, stunningly conducted and very well played by the orchestra.
    Anna Netrebko in Macbeth - magnificent.
    The new Hansel & Gretel was far better than the reviews suggested - well sung, a very musical performance and the interludes enchanted.
    However, my personal highlight was Malin Bystrom's Salome - a performance of a lifetime, soaring over the Orchestra with ease and glorious tone.

  14. Carol Dodson responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:38am Reply

    Diana Damrau as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute truly magical

  15. Peter Mills responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:03am Reply

    Mannon and the Pet Shop Boys

  16. Paul Wilson responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:03am Reply

    I thought the cinema screening of 'Die Walkure' was just sensational. For me, this is the most human and humane part of 'The Ring' - Wotan and Fricka seen very much as flesh and blood: gods made vulnerable by all too human frailties. As Siegmund, Stuart Skelton established himself as the finest helden tenor of his generation. A life-affirming and profoundly moving experience.

  17. Ashok ummat responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:07am Reply

    Just a mesmerising experience watching Carmen. The whole evening was wonderful and look forward to the next performance of swan lake

  18. Bob Owers responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:12am Reply

    The integration of dance and movement in the production of Carmen was brilliant. It felt like a new art form was born.

  19. Jonathan Matheson responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:13am Reply

    No question: the ROH production of Salomé.
    After the Opera exhibition at the V&A, I was very keen to see a good production of Salomé.
    And the ROH production was excellent.
    Malin Bystrom was superb in the role.
    Now I look forward to a production of Elektra at the ROH.

  20. George Bowen responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:15am Reply

    Highlight has to be the Opera House’s continued support for new music, especially that of exceptionally talented composers like George Benjamin, with his Lessons in Love and Violence - stunning performance as always from Barbara Hannigan.

  21. Christian Gastaldello responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:17am Reply

    Don Quixote and Alice in Wonderland. Both balletically wonderful and visually (set designs) stunning.

  22. Georgina White responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:20am Reply

    Another fantastic year from the Royal Ballet but my highlight was watching The Concert on the 20th December. A rare opportunity to see such a humerous ballet. The comic timing was perfection. Mayerling was another highlight. What passion!

  23. Carolyn D responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:21am Reply

    Don Giovanni was mesmerising and magical, so good I cried! I don't go to ROH often, so it is a real treat and never fails to move me.

  24. Graham Foulston responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:24am Reply

    Act 2 of La Beyadere the highlight of any year

  25. Carol Burletson responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:35am Reply

    My first ever visit to the opera I went alone and saw Madame butterfly.
    I absolutely loved every part of it!
    I felt very emotional and I cried when the child was taken from Madame butterfly.
    I look forward to the next time it’s on as I will definitely go again.

    Fantastic

  26. DSAustin responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:36am Reply

    Superb Tosca with outstanding cast of Gheorghui and one of my favourite tenors Joseph Calleja.Looking forward to Alagna and Platanias in Andrea Chenier in 2019

  27. Catherine Bellinger responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:37am Reply

    Always a pleasure to visit the ROH. Love the new layout. Saw La Bayadere. What a performance. Can't wait to visit again in January.

  28. Tom Löfstedt responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:40am Reply

    As long as available here in Helsinki I have seen both Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet performances on the screen - but by far The Highlight of the year 2018 was to experience the fantastic Ring Cycle on site Oct. 26 to Nov. 2. For sure: I will be back!

  29. Alexander Anson responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:42am Reply

    After more than a decade away from ROH it was great to return in the summer with a mini-package of La Bohème, Lohengrin and Falstaff, followed at the end of the year by Gloriana and Der Fliegende Hollander on film in the stunning new Linbury Theatre. The double dose of Bryn Terfel as Falstaff and then the Flying Dutchman was a real treat.

  30. Ben responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:44am Reply

    I'm split. 'Tosca' (with Gheorghiu) showed that a 'traditional' production doesn't have to lifeless or dull. It raced along, playing like a thriller. It's the sort of opera performance that can attract new audiences.

    It should be any easy winner, but...

    'The Return of Ulysses' (at the Roundhouse) is not something that I would normally see as early opera is a bit out of my comfort zone but when you've got Roderick Williams, Christine Rice, Susan Bickley and Nick Pritchard (among others), it seems worth a try. And it was well worth it. Rice acted while another singer sang from the pit (tremendously), so you were constantly reminded of the live and unpredictable nature of performance.

    I was won over. It's a different - less dramatic - experience but still a rewarding one.

    That's why I'm split, so don't ask me to choose.

    (And, yes, I'm one of the people for whom 'Carmen' would never make the list. Whose bright opera was it to agree an opera production set on stairs with people with heavy - and noisy - shoes?)

  31. Colin responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:50am Reply

    Rigoletto stunningly performed by orchestra and cast alike

  32. Freda Gardner responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:55am Reply

    My comment is very simple.
    I had had the pleasure and extraordinary experience of seeing La Boheme on 7 October 2017. The music and the production were wonderful... so wonderful that I needed to go again! So I booked tickets for the 4 January 2018. Unfortunately on that day I had to have emergency eye surgery. Everyone told me I shouldn’t go but I did. Not only was the production wonderful but all the staff and fellow opera lovers were all so kind and supportive to me with my bandaged eye and bruised face. I realised how so much of the experience at The ROH makes for a perfect evening.

  33. Marion McCrindle responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:58am Reply

    Macbeth. A fabulous and absorbing experience. I had booked seats in the Amphitheatre for Macbeth in the early 80s but broke my leg. The opera house had offered me a more accessible alternative but at that time the seat would have cost more than my quarterly electricity bill so I did not go. But it lingered in the mind. I must have missed several other performances but when I saw it on last year’s schedule I just had to go. Wow!!! Wonderful. An ambition fulfilled.

  34. Henk de Vries responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:00pm Reply

    It was a year where I could only enjoy die Walkure on cinema, but it was absolutely beautiful and my 20 year old son was the one who actually ‘dragged’ me into it, which is wonderful to see a young generation taking over the live for opera and its most profound meaning!

  35. Susan Orford responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:08pm Reply

    Carmen. I was brought up on this by my father saying as I get older I would appreciate
    opera. Now in my 60s I can appreciate what he meant and played Carmen at his funeral. Truly magical!

  36. Bev Scaife responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:09pm Reply

    La Bayadere was superb and last nights Nutcracker well ..the dancing .. enjoyed Meaghan grace Hinkis’ Clara .Superb dancing from Joseph Sissens as partner and in the Chinese Dance and Harry Churches too. Akane Takada as SPF magical.

  37. Stewart McGill responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:13pm Reply

    Caught up with Salome which I loved yet the highlight has to be Lessons in Love and Violence in a superb production. Thankfully the DVD will keep the work alive until the revival. Overall the greatest moment was seeing the results of the transformation...the House and surrounding facilities are superb. Coffee is good as well and let's not dismiss good coffee with the Opera. Looking forward to a Linbury treat soon...fabulous.

  38. Maria Bell responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:18pm Reply

    Most memorable for me was Carmen. I was very disappointed with the staging but the singing was superb therefore I saw it twice. The second time sitting back and just enjoying the sound.

  39. Jean Taylor responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:18pm Reply

    Without doubt Tosca. With my husband suffering Alzheimer’s it is such a joy to see him revelling in well known operas, enabling his mind, now and in years past, to soak up all the beauty of each production we attend.

  40. June Garbutt responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:20pm Reply

    If only, if only!! The highlight for me was meant to be a birthday trip to see Carmen! It certainly stood out for me in its truly horrendous production. I kept my eyes closed and things improved.

  41. Martin Miles responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:20pm Reply

    Among many fantastic things, notably 'Lady Macbeth of M', the highlight was my nine-year-old godson's comment at the interval of 'Hansel & Gretel': 'That was never 65 minutes!'. He'd been entranced by it - and he is the audience of the future!

  42. Dimitry Lobanov-Rostovsky responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:21pm Reply

    Happy New Year to all at the ROH. We very much enjoyed the Carmen performance. We look forward to finding out what Winter 2019 performances are planned.

  43. Josie responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:23pm Reply

    I enjoyed seeing Tosca again this year in Feb. One of my absolute favourites!

  44. Paul Bricknal responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:32pm Reply

    Up here in Scotland we don't have the luxury of the Royal Opera House but we do have the new Victoria and Albert museum in Dundee now. Cineworld and BP do outside broadcasts and Cineworld charge around £18 to £20 per show which is quite good but it's not the real thing though. I hope it continues for 2019 . Thank You Royal Opera House.

  45. Jeanette Martin responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:32pm Reply

    Coraline at the Barbican in April 2018

  46. Beryl Wichard responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:38pm Reply

    My son and I went to a live opera for the first time. It was Don Giovanni at the ROH. The experience was a revelation. Absolutely sublime.

    It may have been the first opera we attended but it certainly will not be the last. I live in Cardiff but we have already booked for Cosi Fan Tutti. Can't wait!

  47. David Evans responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:38pm Reply

    I very much enjoyed Falstaff.

  48. John Moran responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:41pm Reply

    Highlights were the sublime production of La Boheme, the set for act 2 is a feast for the eyes and heightens the drama and emotions. Carmen, very different, loved the dance elements, enjoyed the voice over, orchestra and chorus were superb. Shame about the clomping. But who chose the carpet in the refurbished amphitheatre bar area, staining already.

  49. Nick Lock responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:42pm Reply

    We saw two this year La Boheme & Carmen
    La Boheme was a sheer delight, it really felt like winter ( we went in June) singing sets and music all rolled up into a lifetime memorable performance.
    Carmen was totally different, performed in a tiered stage, with modern costumes; it was a slow burn on the night we felt is was alright, but it grew on us as the days past - an interesting interpretation but I still think Carmen should be in a bright red dress rather than a lady Mary Crawley lookalike.

  50. Josephine Gates responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:51pm Reply

    My favourite in 2018 was seeing simon boccanegra for the first time, with my friend we had dinner too. It was a great treat after finishing a year of treatment for illness, and it was such a wonderful evening. Thank you

  51. Margaret Nathan responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:56pm Reply

    The highlight for me was taking part in the production of Ulysses at the Roundhouse, with the wonderful Roderick Williams, as part of the ROHTCC. Also the reopening. I also saw Carmen. The music was wonderful, but I don't understand Carmen standing up at the end. Bizarre. I'm looking forward to what the new year will bring.

  52. Philippa Smith responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:58pm Reply

    I haven’t been to the Royal Opera House for years, and haven’t been a regular visitor since my student days. However, for my husband’s 60th birthday I bought the best seats we could afford for Lohengrin as he loves Wagner. We were both completely blown away by the quality of the performances and by being so close to the performers - almost revelatory in its impact. It’s made me determined to make sure this was not a one off!

  53. Ameema Talat responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:04pm Reply

    I had never been to the opera until this year when I went for my birthday to watch a Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare. I never realised how beautiful ballet could be and how it could portrayed emotions, thoughts and reactions to their dance. It was incredible how they told the story. Unfortunately I could only see the movie of it and not an actual performance, which I was very disappointing about so I would like to win tickets to rewatch the magic in real life.

  54. Stephanie responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:10pm Reply

    Absolutely sublime production of the Ring cycle- superb soloists/orchestra/staging and wonderful restaurant experiences at ROH too- a once in a lifetime experience. Even the audience was good for sheer drama and the dog brought by one audience member didn't bark once; the owner told me that he 'loved Wagner'!

  55. Pauline Washington responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:19pm Reply

    Amazed someone enjoyed Carmen!!!

  56. Pauline Washington responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:21pm Reply

    Someone enjoyed Carmen!!! I thought the gorilla suit an insult!

  57. Kay Tutton responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:28pm Reply

    La Boheme gets me every time. So full of passion.

  58. Linda V. Bradshaw responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:30pm Reply

    I paid my first visit to the Royal Opera House in February to see Tosca,and to go on a 'behind the scenes' tour.
    It was a dream come true and felt very special to be a live part of the opera rather than have to be content with watching it on screen.Spotting a famous artist in the foyer was another big thrill.

  59. Yesmin O’Brien responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:34pm Reply

    The Nutcracker! Absolutely magical!

  60. A Marianska responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:42pm Reply

    Top of my list, although the choice is wide, has to be the superb Ring Cycle. Nothing can surpass this wonderful production, with its array of splendid singers and stunning design.

  61. Robert Wardale responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:42pm Reply

    Macbeth, via cinema link, was marvellous. Took a non opera person to see it and he was converted

  62. peter scott responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:51pm Reply

    Nina Stemme's Brunnhilde - a classic performance for the archives, to match her Isolde at Glyndebourne 15 years ago

  63. Simon K responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:55pm Reply

    The revival of Salome in January and Lohengrin in June. I appear to be alone in this!

  64. Rachel responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:57pm Reply

    Hearing two wonderful South African Jetta Young Artists up close and personal in the Crush Room was my biggest treat of the year. Two quite different singers, brilliant individually and fantastic together too.
    A really lovely setting to hear, and see, opera being sung.
    Loved every minute and will definitely repeat the experience.

  65. carolfenner responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:00pm Reply

    THIS WAS OUR FIRST VISIT TO THE OPERA,IT WAS AMAZING .WE TREATED OR SON AND HIS PARTNER TO SEE CARMEN .I WISH WE HAD SEEN THINGS LIKE THIS EARLIER IN LIFE .WE WILL CERTAINLY BE BACK .THE BEST CHRISTMAS TREAT EVER THANKYOU .

  66. Georgi Christov responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:09pm Reply

    My favourite was Anna Netrebko in Lady Macbeth's and Zelicko Lucic in Macbeth's outstanding and unforgettable interpretations. I also loved Gaelle Arquez's Carmen.

  67. Lesley Taylor responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:10pm Reply

    Anna Netrebko was a revelation in Macbeth. The much criticised Carmen was brilliant in my view. I also enjoyed Michael Fabiano in Rigoletto.

  68. Ingrid Prinsen responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:13pm Reply

    For me the highlight was the performance of Lady Macbeth of Mtensk with the wonderful singing and acting Eva-Maria Westbroek. It was an life changing experience. Always good to see her in this role (I saw her making her debut in this opera at The Netherlands Opera under the baton of Maris Janssonss) and recently also in Vienna.

  69. F. Quirke responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:18pm Reply

    It has to be Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in April. A brilliant production and had it all. From very convincing scenes of tragedy and drudgery. To those of great fun and parody - likened to a 'madness' pop video!

  70. Sally Hall responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:21pm Reply

    I adored the production of Don Giovanni in the Summer. I rushed from Derby after work and returned the same evening. It was well worth it! A sublime production with immaculate staging and world class singers. Bravo ROH!

  71. marshall douglas responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:23pm Reply

    We would never attend an Opera directed by KATIE MITCHELL again. (Lucia de Lammermoor) We found her production distressing and ruined what used to be our favourite Opera

    • Nigel Ashton responded on 4 January 2019 at 11:21pm

      Lucia was a total triumph, Katie Mitchell is one of the world's most accomplished, intelligent and in demand directors. Do a bit of research before you book tickets.

  72. Simon Derungs responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:31pm Reply

    Oh my word, the new production of La Boheme is just amazing. I was blown away by the wonderful restaurant scene, Musetta striding from table to table, the waiters scrabbling to remove the crockery whilst staring in adoration as she sings "Quando m'en vo" so beautifully.

  73. On 24 April 2017
    “The Exterminating Angel” with and by Thomas Adès'. Eclectic music with beautiful duets.
    Beautiful and intelligent modernist stage sets and costumes by Hildegard Bechtler (Brancusi sculptures turn into threatening weapons). Always a privilege to hear Anne Sofie von Otter, such elegant performance, other great voices.
    As a story I certainly prefer the original surreal film by Luis Buñuel, one of my favourite films. To turn a film, and such an icon, into an opera, remains problematic. Are there no sufficient fascination stories in this world for composers to choose ?
    It is so important that opera houses commission operas by contemporary composers. How difficult this is today, show how many opera houses shared the commission and production. Bravo Thomas Adès' !
    7 March 2018
    "From the House of the Dead", Leoš Janáček: One of my favourite opera music pieces, although the content is sad but social critical. An important opera of the 20th century -- amazing how visionary for its time. I saw it last at Theatre Basel, twice.
    At ROH great staging, excellent music interpretation by Teodor Currentzis, the new star darling principal conductor of the SWR Orchestra, Stuttgart, Great voices, beautiful chorus.

    I had not been back to the ROH for some years. Now I noticed a decline of elegance and style among the public -- which of course does not say anything of their understanding and knowledge of music. But shuffling bags, coats and umbrellas inside the hall under and on seats, lacks a certain respect for this beautiful institution.
    New highlights of productions of modern and contemporary operas at the ROH in 2019 promise to be Janaceks "Katya Kabanova", Brittens "Billy Budd", so long missing from ROH and which I saw last at Teatro Real in Madrid,
    Henze's "Phaedra" and of course many more and ballet.
    An unusually young opera director, Oliver Mears, has brought new energy and courage to the ROH.
    I wish Oliver Mears and his team at ROH Covent Garden a joyous 2019, successful productions, courage to try new, and look forward to my next visits and music highlights.

  74. Colin Farrell responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:44pm Reply

    It was difficult to define Carmen as simply an opera production - it contained such amazing choreography matched by movingly acted portrayals by all the cast. A true amalgam of music, movement and drama, it was opera at its most exciting.

  75. Gillian Thomas responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:51pm Reply

    My favourite was seeing the opera Simon Boccanegra. Apart from all the wonderful things such as the singing. staging and costumes, this story about an important person who tries to bring peace rather than conflict is very relevant and inspiring in this time where many dreadful conflicts exist in the world.

  76. Tony Rose responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:53pm Reply

    For opera, it must be Carmen. The new production and staging made it fresh and imaginative. What a creative use of a flight of stairs! All through the story, Carmen plays with, and teases, all the men. Then at the end, supposedly stabbed to death, she gets up and shrugs at the audience as if to say, 'I've been playing around with you, too.' Absolutely wonderful, and very clever.

  77. Sally appleton responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:57pm Reply

    Carmen I'm afraid was truly awful - I felt absolutely cheated - a large part of the enjoyment of such an opera is the 'spectacle' of the production: costumes/ staging and set design...
    Instead it was as visually stimulating as watching paint dry, and it was hard to hear the beautiful music and singing over the thundering of the chorus tramping up & down the giant wooden staircase! They tragically resembled a bunch of deranged puppets most of the time.
    As for Carmen appearing in a full gorilla costume.... UTTERLY LUDICROUS

    That said - the Royal Ballet production of the Nutcracker was a total delight!

    (& the Pet Shop Boys were AWESOME!)

  78. Val Power responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:06pm Reply

    Seeing Swan Lake at my local cinema, I can't get to the Opera House now as my husband has cancer which makes it difficult to leave him. I have been a ballet enthusiast since my daughter started ballet classes at 5. She is now 52 and my love of ballet has now waned. I have seen ballet now in several countries but nothing beats the Royal Opera House Covent Garden...thank you..

  79. Ulla Paffen responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:09pm Reply

    Giselle was our favourite ballet.It was so outstanding, we enjoyed it very much.
    Ulla Paffen
    PS.
    Best wishes from Germany for a happy New Year.

  80. Gareth Jenkins responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:09pm Reply

    I bought my sister and I tickets for Simon Boccanegra as a Christmas gift. We had never been to the opera before and we were both utterly enraptured. I’ve never seen a production as exquisite. We became instant opera addicts and would love to return.

  81. juan roldan responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:12pm Reply

    Watching the Verdi’s Requiem at the ROH was one of my highlights of the season what an amazing performance top notch

  82. Amanda Gay responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:17pm Reply

    I knew that Tosca was on but sold out months beforehand. Then, on the afternoon of the final performance, (Oh Joy) I rang up and got a return in row A of the amphitheatre.

    It was a fantastic evening, impeccable music and voices, so wonderful to hear Angela Gheorghiu again.

  83. Sandi Hedge responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:27pm Reply

    Having never been to a ballet in my life my gorgeous husband treated me to a trip to see the Nutcracker in January 2018. What an amazing and beautiful experience, one that I would love to experience again. Strong yet gentle, colourful and magical, words just dont do it justice. Thank you ROH and thank you to Guy my gorgeous husband.

  84. Robert Crich responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:35pm Reply

    4th January 1976 First night of Lucino Visconti Black and white production of La Traviata with Joan Sutherland and Alfredo Kraus 23 curtain calls and my first visit to Royal Opera which inspired my love of opera

  85. Claudia Kramer responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:38pm Reply

    The Ring, I am not sure how many times I have seen The Ring. I always discover a different musicality, a different intensity . The rest of the operas were as usual, outstanding. A great thanks to all.

  86. Kathrin Peters responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:52pm Reply

    Nina Stemme in the Ring was just stupendous.

  87. Jean Bloch responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:54pm Reply

    I attended less this year than in previous years but the highlight for me was Lohengrin, more for its intrinsic merits than your production, I'm afraid. A more traditional staging by ENO some years ago made more of an impact on me, though you won hands down, of course, on singing in the original language and the quality of your singers. However, all is relative and the real operatic highlights of my year were 2 Handel operas at Glyndebourne.

  88. María Storace responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:55pm Reply

    Todas las óperas cantadas por Anna Netrebko fueron maravillosas. I love her voice.

  89. Vittorio Di Paola responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:59pm Reply

    In my opinion reallly great level all operas in 2018! Impossible don’t underline among them Siegfried, amazing, both from the musical side with fantastic conducting of Tony Pappano and great cast than about the production really improved from the past

  90. Linda Devereux responded on 1 January 2019 at 4:11pm Reply

    I have travelled to London from the USA many times for ROH performances, all of which were excellent. But the all time highlight was the 2018 Ring. In the hands of Antonio Pappano and the superb cast, the sound was absolutely glorious. What a wonderful experience,

  91. Dr Packer responded on 1 January 2019 at 4:13pm Reply

    In the2017/18 season, Lucia was superb! I enjoyed it enormously. A most stimulating and thought-provoking production which brought a completely different and fascinating approach to a well-known classic. Thank you!

  92. Alexandra EASTON responded on 1 January 2019 at 4:15pm Reply

    Bryn Terfel as Falstaff was superb - so good in fact, that after one performance, I vowed to bring a talented (drama) grandson and managed to find two tickets for the last night when said grandson was able to experience the combination of Verdi, Shakespeare and a great musical and dramatic singer in one wonderful opera.

  93. L Russell responded on 1 January 2019 at 4:20pm Reply

    Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci in Jan 2018 was refreshingly unique. Believable, raw and passionate in the delivery, as was the original intention.

  94. JOHN WILSON responded on 1 January 2019 at 4:24pm Reply

    I enjoyed SIMON BOCCANEGRA but my
    Stalls seat A29 was terrible and not worth the £125 which you charged me ! The iron grill over the orchestra pit seriously obstructs the view and causes claustrophobia. This seat should be abolished or charged at a much cheaper price. Prepayment for an ice cream and a programme should have a discount.

  95. Aliya Y responded on 1 January 2019 at 4:51pm Reply

    My rating for 2018:
    1. Don Giovanni - July. Incredible voices and very good scenography.
    2. Rigoletto - January. Stunning Rabelaisian performance with 2 main stars - Gilda and Maddalena.
    ...
    -1000 Carmen - December. Why director was so cruel to this opera? I'm not an old-fashioned bore, really like modern style production, but if it's thoughtful and witty.

    Anyway in 2019 I'm with ROH. It's life-lasting romance which nothing can substantiate.

  96. Susan Oakley responded on 1 January 2019 at 4:58pm Reply

    I've only been to see a production of the Marrriage of Figaro some years ago at the ROH and loved it. A second chance was Carmen. Outstanding and also visually memorable. My new year's resolution is to make every opportunity to see and hear more. I'm converted. Thank you too for your Month of Sundays. I brought my whole family and some friends. A rare chance and heart warmingly all inclusive. Wonderful.

  97. Jacqueline Faller responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:17pm Reply

    My highlight was seeing Bryn Terfel as Falstaff in the opera of that name on July 21st 2018.This was a double whammy for me since it was my first visit to the Royal Opera House and I saw my favourite baritone in this truly comical role.Many thanks for this amazing opportunity last year.I am determined to visit the Royal opera house again soon please.

  98. Dr. Lyn Schenbeck responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:25pm Reply

    My husband and I are professional musicians and academics. He is a musicologist and I am a musical theatre conductor, singer, and violinist. We were in the UK for the first time this past May. To sit in the Royal Opera House, drink in the past, and look to the future was an amazing experience! We saw George Benjamin conduct Lessons in Love and Violence. Everything about the production was perfection personified. While the music itself could not survive on its own, when used in the opera, it was appropriate, beautiful, engaging, and better than many other operas that pride themselves on arias and other music that stands out regardless of whether it's just heard or seen as part of the production.

    The staging, sets, costumes, and production values were so high and exciting to behold! Everything came together such that we were both enchanted.

    We hope to return to the UK as often as possible and to see an opera or ballet at the Royal Opera House every time we do.

    Thank you for the experience. You are welcome to use any portion of or all of my comments in any PR materials you have!

  99. Patrick O'Brien responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:29pm Reply

    Undoubtedly, watching our grandson, Harry Ayres in the boys' chorus in Tosca conducted by Placido Domingo. Our biggest thrill of 2018. Our first visit for many years but we shall be back in 2019.

  100. Elena TONON-KLABIN responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:33pm Reply

    Tosca was a masterpiece with the supreme singing of Angela Gheorghiu and the original set design of the stage, the perfect conducting of the orchestra in fine tune with the singers and the ethereal costumes...

  101. Margaret Minister responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:48pm Reply

    I will never forget Bryn Terfel in Falstaff. He had a ball! and so did we in the audience, I was smiling all week,

  102. CARLOS AUGUSTO DEVORIK.- responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:58pm Reply

    I think that in general your opera programs are very, very good, specially at this bad times!! Carry on like that and all of us, we will be very happy to follow everything!

  103. CARLOS AUGUSTO DEVORIK.- responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:05pm Reply

    I forgot to let you know, that Im a retired prof., and Im a specialist in classical Music. It is a pleasure to follow your lists and if could be something not to my taste, in general and as Ii say: very very fond of! (from the bieining of opera (xvi century, to the begining of XX century!!)

  104. Teresa responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:34pm Reply

    Mackbeth is the best!

  105. Peter Quirk responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:38pm Reply

    From the House of the Dead , opening night , audience was spellbound , I don’t think I have ever heard Janacek played with such depth and beauty , a sonic experience. Backed up by wonderful ensemble singing.

  106. Paul French responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:50pm Reply

    Seeing Joseph Calleja in Tosca has to be the top moment of any decade, let alone a single season. The new production of La Boheme came a very, very close second!

  107. Leon responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:57pm Reply

    My highlight was the Ring Cycle, and particularly Götterdämmerung. But also this was the first year that I attended one of the opera screenings by the river, La Boheme, and that was a truly wonderful experience. More of these, please!

  108. Wilhelmina von Blumenthal responded on 1 January 2019 at 7:21pm Reply

    Simon Boccanegra was amAAAAzing. Beautiful production, the singers were out of this world and I had never seen or heard he opera before which was a major plus. I went with a friend I study with and our eyes were nearly popping out of our heads with excitement it’s such a dramatic historical drama. Also really loved the ballet Mayerling. I forget who Rudolf was but the dancer WAS Rudolf and the choreography was harrowing and beautiful at the same time and the costumes were gorgeous.

  109. Bryan Moore responded on 1 January 2019 at 7:24pm Reply

    Macbeth for me. The great Netrebko, the music of Verdi, the wonderful ambiance of the Royal Opera House, who could forget the experience?

  110. Robert Shooter responded on 1 January 2019 at 7:29pm Reply

    At the theatre, Macbeth. on Radio 3 the Ring cycle.

  111. Susan Harrison responded on 1 January 2019 at 7:47pm Reply

    I went to see Hansel and Gretel in December not really knowing what to expect. It was one of the best nights I’ve ever had. Full of excellent singing, humour and a properly lavish spectacle

    So good

  112. John Cobb responded on 1 January 2019 at 8:21pm Reply

    Absolutely stunning performance of Salome last February. Went on the spur of the moment but shall never forget it. Salome herself was searing. One of the best operas I have ever seen.

  113. James responded on 1 January 2019 at 8:24pm Reply

    Carman’s entrance, dressed as gorilla and then again as a bride. Both spellbinding, stupefying and rather bonkers. Memorable moments from a most memorable evening.

  114. Donald Crombie responded on 1 January 2019 at 9:15pm Reply

    Taking my 11 year old granddaughter to Rigoletto last January. ( Some might call me ‘courageous.’) The delight for me was as much in watching her face reflect the joy of discovery as it was in the wonderful singers and staging.

  115. Jeff Szer responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:19pm Reply

    I had the experience of the Barry Kosky production of Carmen on December 14. Reworking classic operas is always risky and rarely works but for some reason, this one did work and the stark set and bizarre costuming combined with amazing talent meant that this initially bewildering experience has grown into memories of a truly great performance. Thanks ROH.

  116. Linda responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:41pm Reply

    Don Giovanni production was very creative along with the innovative set design. Amazing performances from the cast and the beautiful music of Mozart made it a was a most memorable evening. Such a treat!

  117. Joaquim P responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:46pm Reply

    Dear ROH, Macbeth was a memorable one. Really good time at the Opera. Keep the good work. Cheers

  118. Lauren Granger responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:57pm Reply

    Roberto Bolle & Marianela Nunez in Manon! I share his surname (maiden)& have always wanted to see him perform so imagine my excitement when my best friend who was recovering from cancer for the second time was given two tickets by her boss & invited me on April 11th 2018! Orchestra seats! A dream come true....and she’s been cancer clear for a year now too

  119. Ann Debono responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:24pm Reply

    I have visited about four times in 2018. and have enjoyed everything however Carmen was my favourite for two reasons;
    1) It was fabulous : visual effects, choir, stairs, performances, emotion, creative interpretation. THAT DRESS!
    2) I gave blood that day and sadly felt rather faint during the first act. Needed fresh air.
    Staff and house manager were so kind - and then let me to go into a recently vacated box for the final act. Just wonderful. Thank you.

  120. Marilyn Power responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:58pm Reply

    I took my 2 Goddaughters to the cinema to see The Nutcracker and was then fortunate enough to get tickets for The ROH performance on 21st! They have fallen in love with ballet aged 13 and 16 much earlier than I did. I would now like to introduce them to either Alice or Swan Lake.

  121. Zoe Reeve responded on 2 January 2019 at 7:38am Reply

    Seeing Rigoletto in January was a dream come true. I moved to London at the end of 2017 and when I saw that Rigoletto was on I bought a ticket even though I couldn't afford it because it's my mother's favourite opera and I had grown up listening to it and discussing it endlessly. At the end of the performance I called her and gushed about how magnificent it was and described it all in great detail.

  122. Lucia responded on 2 January 2019 at 7:53am Reply

    I liked very much Tosca. Carmen was a surprise, excellent musical execution but the stage without any particular decoration simply destroyed a pleasure of adoring this Opera as I usually do. For me “the visuals” are playing a very important role in grasping the sensual, and emotional feelings of the storyline and when it comes to the Opera for me this is a package which shouldn’t be dramatically changed except if it is done with the superior creativity and logic.

  123. Roy Mitchell responded on 2 January 2019 at 8:17am Reply

    Without a doubt the highlight of the year for me was seeing and hearing the magnificent Lisette Oropesa as the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor. What a voice, what sheer unadulterated joy. I can't remember ever seeing the entire audience jump to its feet so instantaneously when she came on for her curtain call, and the only time my hands have ever hurt from clapping so hard and so long!

  124. De. Robert Lovass responded on 2 January 2019 at 8:18am Reply

    Carmen at March 2018 was maybe one of the very BEST performance We ever have seen at the last 40 Years in Europe
    An excellent production!!!Thank You!!

  125. Mark Evans responded on 2 January 2019 at 8:35am Reply

    Absolutely loved seeing the revival of 'Cav and Pag' back ion January last year. Such a gloriously imagined production that links both pieces so convincingly. The design enhanced the performances and the music was wonderful. Can't wait to come again!

  126. PHilippa Metherell responded on 2 January 2019 at 8:47am Reply

    Tosca was wonderful and watching Antonio Pappano's work on BBC then enjoying the live performance was a truly fabulous night out. Songs were soaring through the auditorium and it was just a beautiful thing.

  127. Two highlights for me in 2019: Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and George Benjamin's Lessons in Love and Violence. Both brilliantly performed by all concerned.

  128. Patricia Smith responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:05am Reply

    Would love to comment on performances but we can never get tickets!
    Have seen cinema performance, great but nut the same as a live show
    Also, Swan Lake ,new production, seemed to be good if only it had not been so dark that it was difficult to see the dancers in the t.v showing.
    Pity,

  129. Stephen responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:09am Reply

    Neither opera nor ballet but yet again the Pet Shop Boys in July was breath taking
    The sound, the lights, the venue and special mention to the staff, so polite, helpful, genuine nice people.

  130. Wayne Powell responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:11am Reply

    Tosca was just brilliant and the dinner on the balcony with both my daughters made the whole occasion just wonderful.
    Truly a magnificent evening.

  131. Jonathan Mitchell responded on 2 January 2019 at 10:01am Reply

    Lohengrin: I felt as if a cow had kicked me in the guts. I left the House an emotional wreck!

  132. Stella Mason responded on 2 January 2019 at 10:27am Reply

    Lohengrin was wonderful and my highlight of my year. The chorus and orchestra sounded fantastic; the conducting of Andris Nelsons brought out the best in them. The soloists were memorable including Jennifer Davis who you would never had known stepped in to cover the role of Elsa.

  133. Tanja Hartikainen responded on 2 January 2019 at 10:36am Reply

    AS the senior ROH fan living in Finland
    not esasy to get each performance I -l wich
    Macbeth with Netrebko I DID !
    I I loved it very much,also YSIF was good
    FIRST time heared him )

    Sorry my english skill ( 74 years old lady )

  134. Gabrielle Cornish responded on 2 January 2019 at 10:58am Reply

    Carmen was classy and polished, with very clever use of lighting and a minimalist set which allowed the music to take centre stage.
    It was a special birthday treat for a relative, who had not been to the ROH before. She found it a magical experience.
    Thank you!

  135. Karen responded on 2 January 2019 at 5:38pm Reply

    The two , very different, Lady Macbeths. Probably, if pushed for just one I would have to choose Eva-maria Westbroek in the Shostakovich.

  136. david nickson responded on 2 January 2019 at 6:34pm Reply

    lessons in love and violent was captivating.clear diction and excellent production made it he best opera on tv

  137. Matt Furness responded on 2 January 2019 at 6:52pm Reply

    Our highlight was a departure from opera. We found the Pet Shop Boys residency in the summer to be a truly unique and inspiring experience.
    The juxtaposition of electronic music and state of the art light show, married perfectly with the traditional and intimate opera house surroundings.
    An absolute triumph, largely thanks to Es Devlin’s production and Neil and Chris’s own acute sense of theatre.

  138. Ina responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:11pm Reply

    My highlights are Goetherdaemmerung from the Ring cycle (Nina Stemme, Antonio Pappano, the stage and and the spirit of Wagner's ideas), Mackbeth of Mctsensk (Eva- Maria Westbroek un this role is incredible, Antonio Pappano and whole team!) and Mackbeth (stunning!). I wish many highlights in ROH this year!

  139. Isolda responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:21pm Reply

    Carmen was for me a mindblowing ópera. The addition of ballet superb and the steps very effective. Simply great!!!

  140. Linda Marcroft responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:49pm Reply

    I would like to thank you for the wonderful performances...both opera and ballet which I have enjoyed Live and Encore at my local cinema.I always used to travel into London for dress rehearsals of so many operas and ballets over the years as a friend of the Royal Opera House but now that getting around isn't so easy...these local performances are a Godsend.Thank you for making thiis possible from the bottom of my heart.x

  141. Isolda responded on 2 January 2019 at 10:04pm Reply

    I have commented on both Carmen and Mayerling as outstanding but my comments have not been published yet. Hope they will.

  142. Isolda responded on 2 January 2019 at 10:06pm Reply

    I could add Swan Lake and Macbeth as magnificent! Thank you ROH!!

  143. Stuart Kinzett responded on 2 January 2019 at 11:45pm Reply

    Little did I imagine that on my first ever visit to the ROH would I witness a voluptuous woman atop a table centre stage brazenly whip off her knickers. It was an unforgettable moment. But then the entire production was unforgettable: the stark Bohemianism of the garret, the magical transformation to the Paris arcade and the Cafe Momus (where Musetta thrillingly discards her frillies), the chilly atmosphere of early morning Paris and the final heart-rending scene. All ignited by wonderful music and spine-tingling singing. It left me panting for more and I'll definitely be back in 2019. (La Boheme, 20 July 2018.)

  144. Jeannie Price responded on 3 January 2019 at 10:40am Reply

    A special moment for me was back in January 2018 watching Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci which I found captivating. It was a particularly emotional & poignant connection for me as the last time I saw these operas was with my late Dad back in 1970 - my first introduction to opera as a teenager. The melodies transported me back to that happy evening all those decades ago. I've loved opera ever since.

  145. Marie Claire Baroness von Alvensleben responded on 3 January 2019 at 6:55pm Reply

    The Ring Cycle with Antonio Pappano were absolutely brilliant . La Boheme was ravishing
    as usual and so were The Swan Lake and
    The Nutcracker

  146. Peter Hatch responded on 3 January 2019 at 7:44pm Reply

    Carmen was world class, one of the most intelligent and original productions I've seen at ROH, more Barry Kosky please.

  147. Simon responded on 3 January 2019 at 10:57pm Reply

    Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci with that amazing cast, some of the greatest singing I have heard for years - a historical vocal performance!
    And the AMAZING new production of Carmen - what genius! So powerful.

  148. Simon responded on 4 January 2019 at 10:25am Reply

    An AMAZING production of Carmen. And legendary singing in Cav and Pag.

  149. Theo Zhang responded on 4 January 2019 at 11:49am Reply

    My top moment of the year was the wonderful new production of Hansel and Gretel.

  150. Geoff responded on 4 January 2019 at 2:11pm Reply

    The sense of relief at hearing the orchestra play properly for Simon Boccanegra (after stumbling through a rather miserable Ring) helped create the sense of a great occasion but in any case this gave me hope that ROH can find its way back to real performances where top quality singing and playing come first and foremost. I immediately got another ticket for a later performance and again experienced what someone described afterwards as -- it's as good as the old days.

    Honourable mention for Netrebko Macbeth, as ROH deserves rewarding for bringing us her voice live (just because someone is famous doesn't automatically mean they aren't the real deal) and Oropesa Lucia (great to hear someone sing it properly after the previous run).

    Although this isn't the ballet thread, others have added RB comments, so, just to say, the new Swan Lake looked gorgeous but was produced in a rather dull, confused, even provincial, manner by someone with little stagecraft (where is Peter Wright when one needs him, or Ashton, or Balanchine or indeed anyone with experience of commercial theatre who knows what the job is?) It's great to have Osipova on staff, though, giving the currently fab local crop something to think about.

  151. Pat Rudolph responded on 4 January 2019 at 2:52pm Reply

    My dream came true when I went to see
    La-boheme at Teatroallascala, Milan.

  152. Margaret Stone responded on 4 January 2019 at 5:52pm Reply

    Real tears welled in my eyes - for the second time only in 50 years of opera-going.
    A duet between two old men, full of remorse and anguish, of years lost in hatred and revenge - and now a reconciliation, too late for Simon Boccanegra.
    I hadn't expected to be so moved, and certainly wasn't the last time I saw this opera. Maybe it's because I too am old; maybe it was, quite simply, a wonderful performance.

  153. Sebastian Dawson-Bowling responded on 6 January 2019 at 9:51am Reply

    For me personally, the Ring Cycle – Act 2 of Die Walküre was a particular high point. Absolutely gut-wrenching.
    For the family as a whole, Hansel and Gretel – please revive this many times in the future.
    From the ballet side, we all loved the new Swan Lake, and sincerely hope that too will have numerous future outings.
    Thank you ROH for some wonderful experiences this year; we are already looking forward to our first visits of 2019.

  154. Brian B responded on 6 January 2019 at 6:31pm Reply

    The highlight of 2018 for me was Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - by some distance. A great production of a great opera.

  155. Jens Ruhbach responded on 6 January 2019 at 7:25pm Reply

    Highlights in 2018 were:
    House of the Dead - great drama and fantastic singing
    Salome - the performance of all participants, including the orchestra, the singing (in particular of Malin Byström), was full of passion and the staging conveyed the drama and madness to great effect. Congratulations to a wonderful production.

  156. Hazel responded on 6 January 2019 at 7:39pm Reply

    2018 was the year I had my first visit ever to the ROH and watched La Boheme. I was totally overwhelmed from the moment the production started right to the end. It was a fabulous evening and I can’t wait to visit again this year. #hookedonopera

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