THE TSAR'S BRIDE
Royal Opera House / cond. Mark Elder
“Mr. Curran, in his overdue Covent Garden debut, ensures that the modern accouterments are tellingly used to work hand-in-hand with a taut staging of the core drama.”
George Loomis, New York Times, April 2011
“A Russian rarity proves to be a real treasure in a production set amid the trappings of new money.”
…[a] compelling study of power and powerlessness in Curran's staging.
…this is a riveting performance of a violent, delirious melodrama.”
Anna Picard, The Independent, April 2011
“It's tawdry, flashy, trashy and menacing. Bodyguards dress in black suits and expensive shades, bulging with muscle and gun. It's a clever solution and gives an exciting dimension to this ponderous work, in which the "happy couple" remain as vital as miniature plastic figures on top of a wedding cake.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, April 2011
“…throws the old and new of this exciting evening into startling relief”
Edward Seckerson, The Independent, April 2011
“The operas of Rimsky-Korsakov are traditionally synonymous with enchanted fairytale settings and chocolate-box stagings. To think outside the box of magic realism takes some courage but that is what Paul Curran has done in his remarkable new production of The Tsar's Bride.
It's true that this opera is a tragedy rather than one of the lightweight comedies, but Curran has chosen to explore the darker side of the work by relocating the action from the court of Ivan the Terrible to contemporary Russia. Curran's boldly imaginative production”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, April 2011
“As Elaine Padmore’s tenure as the ROH’s director of opera comes towards an end, this new production of a major rarity is a reminder of the expertise and imagination she has brought to her work.
It’s a fortuitous combination, because Curran and designer Kevin Knight bring contemporary Russia alive before our eyes, seeing parallels between the repressive mayhem of the reign of Tsar Ivan the Terrible and the blend of vulgarity and violence associated with the modern Russian mafia.
Dramatically, the evening rises steadily up to Marfa’s searing final mad scene, Curran charting its slow burn with unerring skill.”
George Hall, The Stage, April 2011
“Paul Curran’s lavish production ignores the nostalgia for the ancien regime which Rimsky’s score emanates (the anthem “Slava!” functions as a leitmotiv and there are several pseudo-folk tunes). Instead he opts for a grittily contemporary approach, evoking the gloss and squalor of Putin’s Moscow through Kevin Knight’s magnificent sets (a posh restaurant, a back street, a penthouse suite, a gilded palace), complete with table-dancers and mafia heavies.”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, April 2011
“Taking a work by Rimsky-Korsakov that is almost unknown outside Russia and has never before been performed at Covent Garden might seem a risky venture for the ROH, but the production directed by Paul Curran surpasses all expectations.”
William Hartston, The Express, April 2011
FARAMONDO, GOTTINGEN FESTSPIELE cond. Laurence Cummings
an insightful production of this Handel opera
Of course, the director has not located the production in the foggy past. The “Cimbri" are defined as a Mafia family and the Franks as an underworld gang trying to usurp them. The idea carries brilliantly well. A noble casino, magnificently dressed women, the burly security guards, machine guns in the closet, everything fits just fine. The Italian language and excellent direction of the individual characters down to the smallest gestures, reinforce the idea at every turn.
What more could you want?
Thus the stage was set for the singers. Six major and two minor roles needed to be filled, and the choice could not be described as anything other than a than brilliant one.
Always these Brits! A highly intelligent dramatic and musical production... the audience cheered and bravoed the baroque opera “Faramondo”.
With the uplifting success of a brilliant evening this year's Göttingen Handel Festival has reached its high point.
No question that the tight knit triad of Laurence Cummings (Musical director) Paul Curran (Director) and Gary McCann (Stage / Costume Designer) has a fine knack for Handel. As serious as is the war template in the libretto of Apostolo Zeno, the persuasive staging sometimes also breathes a fresh air of irony. They transported the almost inextricably difficult plot of three leading rulers of Franconia, Cimbri and Swabia, unceremoniously into a modern casino. A brilliant idea to tell two stories along with a complicated love triangle, hate and jealousy, into which even a family curse and a swapped child are also included. With a disturbing number of complexities that, from reading the programme, could not even be begun to be contemplated; one could not imagine any of this would be any better solved by a by historical approach.
How true. The story is played out brilliantly; no detail is left untouched, no prop unjustified and the scenes change with ease, despite the technical limitations of a Casino and back-stage corridors and also despite many long, tricky da capo arias and recitatives. One is not left bored for a second. It is simply told excellently. Tricky!
Faramondo triumphs - Premiere of the International Handel Festival Göttingen
Cheers and a standing ovation - the premiere of the opera Faramondo that on 31.05. at the Deutsches Theater as part of the International Handel Festival Göttingen took place, was given a rapturous reception from the enthusiastic audience with several minutes of applause.Special applause brought the young singer Emily Fons in the title role, which proved true star quality with a warm, flexible mezzo-soprano voice and stupendous vocal technique. But the other members of the ensemble were hailed stormy: Anna Devin (soprano) gave with ravishing coloratura cascade an emotionally torn Clotilde, Anna Starushkevych with sounded beautiful mezzo-soprano, the proud princess Rosimonda. The countertenor Christopher Lowrey embodied with great stage presence and breathtaking virtuosity of the intriguing Gernando, his vocal category colleague Maarten Engeltje s with lyrical tones the sensitive prince Adolfo. Njål Sparbo (bass) was a powerful voice, mad king Gustavo. With Edward Grint(baritone) and Iryna Dziashko (soprano) and the smaller roles were occupied first class.
Director Paul Curran and designer Gary McCann moved the action from the wars of the mythical king of the Franks, Faramondo, to the sophisticated, but also cryptic world of casinos.The fascinating tour guide, the glamorous costumes and the associative stage were awarded by the audience with great approval and unanimous applause.
Los Angeles Opera, Cond. James Conlon
“Paul Curran’s production is terrific, particularly citing clever blocking and fluid set changes melding the acts together during interludes.”
Christie Grimstad, Concertonet.com, February 2012
TOSCA Canadian Opera Company, Cond. Paolo Carignani
“Strengthened at all points by … the staging. Curran’s deployment of the chorus was superb”
Robert Everett – Green, The Globe and Mail, January 2012
Santa Fe / cond. Leonardo Vordoni
“Director Paul Curran and his creative team have made an already tight script and score glow like a warm candle. Scene changes are so swift, if you look away for a second, you'll miss the transformation of Rodolfo's claustrophobic garret into a lively Parisian street.”
Judith Reynolds, The Durango Herald, July 2011
“In a production that stands as Santa Fe’s crowning achievement this season, Griffey delivers a gripping, career-defining performance in the title role of Britten’s 1945 masterpiece, Peter Grimes.”
“In his Santa Fe debut, stage director Paul Curran, who has gained considerable praise for his Central City Opera productions, has sculpted a near-perfect production that captures the story’s claustrophobic tension and violent undertones.”
-Kyle MacMillan The Denver Post August 4, 2005