Sophia Lambton

In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House 2017-2018 Review: Falstaff
Dangerously close to the genre of farce, Verdi’s “Falstaff” almost lifts the burden of tough singing from its players. Centered on a large ensemble cast to which - with the exception of the titular protagonist – the vocal challenges are doled out almost equally, its arias are largely scant. Transferring the setting from 15th-century London to a fanciful, blown-up and whimsical take on the fifties, Robert Carsen’s 2012 production of…
In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House 2017-18 Review: Don Giovanni
So much is Don Juan’s tale the stuff of legend that it lends itself as easily to various interpretations as Greek myths. For every legendary story that encounters many incarnations – be it Tristan and Isolde’s love, Medea’s filicide or Romeo and Juliet – there comes a time when it is not only acceptable, but fascinating to encounter the familiar narrative against a novel backdrop or within a different context.…
In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House 2017-18 Review – La Bohème: Matthew Polenzani, Maria Agresta & Company Trapped In Camp Direction
The word “Bohemian” – much like the popular terms “retro,” “Goth,” or “vintage” – is yet another label that has offered countless inferences over a plethora of different times. The “Bohème” clique of Puccini, undercut by the whimsy and exuberance of Italian verismo, would contrast with a play rendition of its source, Henri Murger’s “Scènes de la Vie de Bohème.” Bohemian niches across modern adaptations of the tale – whether…
In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House 2017-2018 Review – Lohengrin: Christine Goerke Shines Among Solid Cast As Half-Awoken Myths Stay in the (Wartime) Trenches of Reality
Its preludes are themselves landmarks of beauty - but Wagner’s 1850 opera “Lohengrin” is a prelude to his future epics. Rooted in Arthurian legend, taking the son of King Parsifal as its hero, and featuring prayers to the pagan gods Wotan and Freia, it is another battle between the divine and the mortal. In mythical medieval Brabant, Count Friedrich von Telramund plots to rule over the land with his wife…
In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House Season 2017-18 Review – Macbeth: Anna Netrebko & Zeljko Lucic Shine In Unsatisfactory Production
Director Phyllida Lloyd’s 2002 production of Verdi’s “Macbeth” doesn’t need a revival to age. Cluttered with too many literal symbols – Lady Macbeth attempting to wash blood off in the bath, Duncan clad in a glittery gold cloak that Macbeth dons when assuming the throne, the presence of a running tap onstage as the two killer spouses sing of their compulsive need to become clean – the rendering swiftly begins…
In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House 2017-18 Review – From the House of the Dead: Prison Drama Locks Up Its Singers
Janáček’s final opera, "From the House of the Dead (Z mrtvého domu)," is among the operatic canon’s most insular works. Set in a Siberian prison camp, the piece is uncharacteristic as an opera from several perspectives: it features just a single female voice – although originally a mezzo sang the tenor role; its setting is confined to the lugubrious complexion of a jail, restricting a production’s color palette to a…
In Review Stage Reviews
Barbican 2017-18 Review – Dead Man Walking: Joyce DiDonato Shines In Jake Heggie’s Haunting Disarray Of An Opera
Jake Heggie’s 2000 opera “Dead Man Walking” – based on the memoirs of Sister Helen Prejean and inspired by the film of the same name – hardly conforms to operatic standards. An intersection of “Porgy and Bess”-like motifs, rock opera recitatives, and the echoes of New Orleans jazz, it treats the opera template with a moderate respect: scant arias and duets that favor the "parlato" style of speaking rather than…
In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House 2017-18 Review – Tosca: Pieczonka, Calleja, Finley Don’t Quite Mesh in Revival of Jonathan Kent’s Classic Produciton
There are instances in which it’s difficult for opera-lovers to remember "Tosca" is no comedy. From that perspective it is easy to recall the legend of a certain prima donna who once bounced back from the trampoline that was supposed to break her fall as Tosca killed herself. Floria Tosca is not one of opera’s most pitiable characters. She is fastidious, caricaturish, possessive enough to become jealous of a painted…
In Review Stage Reviews
Wigmore Hall 2017-18 Season Review – Joyce DiDonato is a Lyrical Sorceress
There is an old ubiquitous adage – alternately attributed to Goethe, Sibelius or Wagner – that summarily affirms music begins where words end. If that were the case, such an assertion would defy the very need to write reviews about performance. And Joyce DiDonato leaves reviewers stymied. In a repertoire so far astray from her typical programmes – whether they be Baroque-centred, bel canto-ridden or infused with smoky Gershwin standards…
In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House 2017-18 Review – Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci: Verismo Duo Falls Prey to Verismo Schtick
In the beginning of the 20th-century there was a snootiness about verismo opera. All of its propagators – Puccini, Giordano, Mascagni, among others - were accused of simplifying opera by eliminating many of its challenges. Those long showy lines of coloratura were long gone. In place of it, the singers began interspersing notes and passages with great long sighs or yells – and those ubiquitous raised hands and eyebrows. And…