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Best and worst opera in 2016


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First and foremost Bartoli as Norma, so good I got on a plane to see it twice.  Encountered venomous dislike of her voice from a Covent Garden regular though, have no idea why.


Best revivals: Akhnaten at ENO and Britten's Dream at Glyndebourne, still pure magic with a wonderful Oberon from Tim Mead.


Loved Enescu's Oedipe, a work I'd never heard before.


Worst:  Lucia di Lammermoor at RO, vile.


Hear that the lovely Hoffman production at RO is to be scrapped, no doubt to be replaced by some horror.  Last months performances by Grigolo will stick in the memory though.

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(As already posted on the ROH page)


Runner up: Yoncheva in Norma (despite the weaknesses of the production). Winner: Jaho in Suor Angelica (despite a revival). Turkey of the year: L'Étoile (even worse than Lucia, which is saying something).

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I agree with Mab and Geoff on so many levels but with slight tweaks as follows:


Best production:

Akhnaten - mesmerising, stunning and totally unforgettable;

Runners up:

Norma - Yoncheva unexpectedly impressive and the production better than expected with the exception of the misconceived Watership Down scene ;

Suor Angelica - Jaho utterly heartbreaking;


Worst production:

Oreste - gratuitously nasty, sleazy and utterly offensive;

Runners ups:

Il Trovatore - cartoonish insult to the intelligence of the audience;

Cosi - sadly disappointing, a lost opportunity;


Only just gone and already lamented:

The late, great Hoffman, particularly the ravishing, vampiric Venetian depiction;


Most entertaining performer:

The increasingly appealing Grigolo;


Biggest spectacle:

Joyce di Donato at the Barbican;


Best of British:

David Bates and La Nuova Musica;


Not-opera but just have to mention:

The incomparable Jordi Savall at the Sam Wanamaker in August

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think my standout was Jaho in Suor Angelica, and the other opera I really enjoyed was The Cunning Vixen.


Quite enjoyed Hoffman too, but didn't get on with most of Der Rosenkavalier.


Seem to have forgotten about most of the other things I've seen. I probably liked Lucia better than Norma (is this heresy?)

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I probably liked Lucia better than Norma (is this heresy?)

No heresy! There are lots of elements which make up a judgement, and anyway both productions seemed to divide people. On the simplest of metrics, there is probably more fun music in total in Lucia than in Norma, and there was more going on in that Lucia production than in Norma's forest of crosses, so easy to prefer one over the other. Neither show was perfect, if only because neither lead was totally right (but for different reasons, the Lucia being not quite as good as promoted, the Norma just starting out in the role, not yet at the height she may well reach). Completely with you on Jaho, of course.

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As a couple of posters have nominated performances other than opera I'd like to add the sublime performance of Messiah conducted by William Christie at the Barbican in December.  Totally in awe of Christie, can't wait for the Cavalli he's conducting at Glyndebourne this summer.

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