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Music: Richard Osborne reviews Tristan und Isolde, Pelléas et Mélisande, Il turco in Italia and Jenufa

Arts | By Richard Osborne | September Issue

A step in the right direction for British Opera

There are more new opera productions in Britain these days in state-funded houses and privately-run summer festivals than you can shake a stick at. In inexperienced hands, the results can be dire. In the hands of directors and conductors steeped in their craft, they can be memorable: witness Grange Opera’s staging of Britten’s time-defying period piece Albert Herring, directed by 84-year-old master craftsman, John Copley. The conducting of the 78-year-old Steuart Bedford was none too shabby either. The previous month at Longborough, a place many of us now think of as the English Bayreuth, veteran Wagnerian Anthony Negus conducted the greatest Tristan und Isolde I have experienced in the theatre. An old friend of mine who was at Stowe in the 1960s remembers the young Negus walking round with the score of Tristan tucked under his arm even then. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It began with the ‘Prelude’, whose...

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