The Royal Opera House has turned up trumps in the Olivier Awards: their new Tristan und Isolde production by Christof Loy won Best New Opera Production and their blazingly amazing Isolde, Nina Stemme (above), was awarded Oustanding Achievement in Opera. The place won a dance prize too: Best New Dance Production went to Goldberg: The Brandstrup Rojo Project at ROH2.
The trouble with that Tristan, though, is that apparently a lot of people couldn't see most of the action because they were sitting in the wrong part of the theatre - on the left. The left side of the stage was dominated by a long, towering diagonal wall. Much took place underneath or against it and it seems that this caused frustration in the house. I too sat on the left, though I had a clear view of everything, the result perhaps of good luck or height (of my seat's location, as opposed to of me). Still, there's a fair bit of controversy out there about how a production with such a fundamental flaw could sweep to victory. Personally, I adored it - if less, generally, than Glyndebourne's Lehnhoff production - for its closely-wrought focus on the psychology of the lovers. And La Nina deserves every prize in the operatic world.
Meanwhile, news from Bayreuth that Wagner's grandson Wolfgang died yesterday, aged 90. Norman Lebrecht offers a less than complimentary farewell over at Slipped Disc. And here is a detailed and fascinating obit by Tom Sutcliffe in The Guardian.
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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