Glyndebourne 2014: first reviews (Der Rosenkavalier & Eugene Onegin)

Each summer the London Philharmonic Orchestra leaves its Royal Festival Hall home and decamps down to the Sussex countryside to play at the annual Glyndebourne Festival Opera. This year's Festival opened last Saturday (17 May) and will run until 24 August, during which time the Orchestra will perform four different operas.

Here are the first reviews, of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier conducted by Glyndebourne's new Music Director, Robin Ticciati, and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin under the baton of Omer Meir Wellber. Find out more at glyndebourne.com

Der Rosenkavalier (Robin Ticciati)

‘Without hysteria or grandstanding, [Ticciati] moves through the Straussian thickets with unfailing clarity of purpose and a keen ear for detail, bringing to the music a humanity and charm sometimes absent from the production. Of him the ghost of George Christie would certainly approve.’ (4 stars)
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 18 May 2014

‘Ticciati keeps the glinting, jewel-studded orchestra down as a magic carpet, stupendous in the velvery conspiratorial tarantella that launches Act 3.’
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 18 May 2014

‘Robin Ticciati’s debut as Glyndebourne’s music director quickly settled down after youthful impetuosity in the prelude had the London Philharmonic Orchestra seemingly chasing the tail of his tempo ... Thereafter there was much lovely playing and perceptive detail along the way.’
Edward Seckerson, 18 May 2014

‘Robin Ticciati conducts briskly, lovingly, and the London Philharmonic is on top form.’ (4 stars)
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 19 May 2014

‘I know the prelude is supposed to depict sexual congress, but Ticciati attacks it so frantically that one fears not so much orgasm as mass-hernia in the ranks of the excellent London Philharmonic. Happily, he settles after that, and his lean, unsentimental, precise reading is much in keeping with Jones’s elegantly twisted deconstruction on stage.’ (4 stars)
Richard Morrison, The Times, 19 May 2014 (online access for subscribers only)

‘Lars Woldt’s exuberant Baron Ochs and Michael Kraus’s nobly-sung Faninal infectiously animate the surrounding foolery which - thanks to brilliant lighting, sets, costumes, and movement-direction - transpires in an infantile Freudian dream-world.’
Michael Church, The Independent, 19 May 2014

‘This is Robin Ticciati's first show as Glyndebourne's music director. Where his conducting is mostly efficient, and tactfully supportive of his singers, it does not have much warmth.’
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 19 May 2014

‘Combined with some transcendent playing from the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Robin Ticciati [Jones] has created a rapturous new production that's loaded with fresh observation, musical felicity and emotional truth.’ (5 stars)
Mark Valencia, What’s On Stage, 19 May 2014

‘Jones’ sense of stagecraft and gift for drawing exceptional performances from his cast make this one of the sharpest yet also most moving realisations the opera has had in the UK for decades.’
George Hall, The Stage, 19 May 2014

‘The real star of the evening, however, was Robin Ticciati, making his debut as musical director, coaxing a superlative performance from the orchestra.’
Maxwell Cooter, The Argus, 19 May 2014

‘In his admirable determination to avoid the mawkish — aided by Robin Ticciati’s well-paced conducting — I think Jones does lose something, but he brings a fertile imagination too.’
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 20 May 2014


Eugene Onegin (Omer Meir Wellber)

‘It starts with one huge advantage – the conducting of UK debutant Omer Meir Wellber, who exposes the core of Tchaikovsky’s emotional outpourings with a reading that combines intense lyricism and, in the dance scenes, virtuosic vitality. The London Philharmonic’s double basses have never sounded so rich and deep. Add an immaculate chorus – bouquets to chorus master Jeremy Bines – and you have the foundation of an exceptional performance.’ (5 stars)
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 19 May 2014

‘…Tchaikovsky’s turbulent score, to which Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber brings energy and clarity…’
Edward Bhesania, The Stage, 19 May 2014

‘Clap hands also for the Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber, who began his house debut with a yearning phrase from the London Philharmonic and never looked back.’
Geoff Brown, The Times, 20 May 2014 (online access for subscribers only)

‘Omer Meir Wellber was making his UK and Glyndebourne debut in the pit, and he gave a lively, rousing interpretation of the music … The LPO played fervently for him, giving him all he asked for’ (5 stars)
Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOMH.com, 20 May 2014

‘This is an evening that has plenty going for it: musical and dramatic freshness, an authentically Slavic set of principals and an admirable lightness of touch’
Simon Thomas, What’s On Stage, 20 May 2014