Irina Lungu

What next for English National Opera?

by Tom Sutcliffe

With the announcement that Daniel Kramer is stepping down from his role as artistic director of English National Opera in July of this year, after just three years in the post, yet another question mark will be posed over the fragile existence of this company in Britain’s operatic firmament.

Letter from Østfold, Norway

by Franz Wulf

Irina Lungu

by James Imam

This month marks a watershed for Irina Lungu as she sings the role of Marguerite in David McVicar’s spectacular staging of Faust at the Royal Opera House. The glamour of London, New York and Milan is a far cry from her home in provincial Russia, where she was once told to stick to choral singing. Opera Now meets a sensual and thrilling lyric soprano who faces the challenges of a career in opera head on.

Glyndebourne goes green

by Adrian Mourby

Glyndebourne’s ‘new’ opera house is 25 years old, but it’s still a work in progress as the building adapts to the needs of the festival’s growing artistic ambitions, its ever-demanding audience and its environmental responsibilities in the heart of the English countryside.

Defending freedom

by Helena Matheopoulos

The legendary French actress Fanny Ardant will be directing Shostakovich’s torrid, sexually frank Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at Greek National Opera this month. Opera Now met her in Paris just before she headed to Athens to bring her no-holds-barred vision of the work to the operatic stage

Casting for perfection

by Helena Matheopoulos

Meet the dynamic duo who have restored Paris Opera, the largest organisation of its kind in the world, to its former glory, thanks to a sense of theatrical daring and penchant for first-race casting.

Richard Wagner

by Franz Wulf

Leipzig is reclaiming its musical heritage as it prepares for a marathon homage to one of its most famous sons, Richard Wagner

Mozart, Gluck and the birth of modern opera

Conductor Ian Page has set himself the task of researching and performing works from the 18th century, rare now but influential in their time, which shaped the way we experience opera today

Czech out the choice

by Anthony Ogus

The Czech Republic has more opera houses per head of population than anywhere in the European Union, and even the country’s lesser-known theatres offer an impressive wealth of opera at an affordable price.

Siegmund : victim or hero?

by Michael White

Australian Heldentenor Stuart Skelton discusses his approach to his signature role of Siegmund, the abandoned son of Wotan who inadvertently falls in love with his sister at the opening of Wagner’s Die Walküre

Poland’s operatic hero

by Stephen Ellery

Stanisław Moniuszko’s operas helped to keep Polish identity alive through decades of subjugation by Russia in the 19th century. As he celebrates his bicentenary this year, it’s time for the world to take note of his appealing, tuneful works

Tune in to the Tudors

by Robert Thicknesse

Three British opera companies are staging works that focus on Elizabeth I and her entourage. Opera Now sets out the right royal intrigues that inspired composers in the 19th century

La forza del destino

by Francis Muzzu · illustrations: Bill Cooper

The audience wasn’t really there on account of Christof Loy’s production. This staging of Forza was all about the singers. There was a feeding frenzy for performances starring Anna Netrebko and Jonas Kaufmann, a rare pairing on the operatic stage. Black market tickets went for thousands of pounds above face value

Jack the Ripper

by Tom Sutcliffe · illustrations: Alistair Muir

Since the figure of Jack the Ripper doesn’t actually appear in ENO’s new opera, the work’s subtitle, Women of Whitechapel, should have been its actual title. Whatever you call it, this piece, focusing on the victims of Jack the Ripper, was not in any sense a viable drama. Moreover it earned such dire reviews that ticket sales were bound to be lamentable

Kátya Kabanová

by Kenneth Walton · illustrations: James Glossop

Stephen Lawless’ new production for Scottish Opera was the third staging of Kátya Kabanová in the UK in a matter of weeks. This co-production with Theater Magdeburg offers a fresh and fulfilling perspective on the grimness and greyness of the opera’s suffocating plot