Wagner at War

September 25, 2023 | Opera | By Nick Hammond

The first night of Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov’s Paris Opera début at the Bastille was destined to be a sensational event. Serebrennikov, who has always been outspoken in his home country over such issues as LGBTQ rights (he is openly … Read More

Tristan und Isolde

Visual and Sonic Glories

January 20, 2023 | Opera | By Nick Hammond

The famous Paris Opera production of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde by director Peter Sellars, in collaboration with video artist Bill Viola, makes another welcome return to the Bastille. There is a reason why this production has remained in the … Read More


Safe Choice for New Music Director

September 7, 2022 | Opera | By Nick Hammond

Pierre Audi’s 2014 production of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, revived in 2016 and again now at the Bastille, is fast becoming a stalwart of the Opéra de Paris’s repertoire, and it is easy to see why: with a set that is … Read More


A Knightly Cult

June 1, 2022 | Opera | By Nick Hammond

I must admit to approaching British director Richard Jones’s production at the Opéra Bastille of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal with some trepidation. Jones’s previous productions of Wagner’s other works, especially the Ring Cycle, have had a tendency to trivialize the most … Read More


Hard-Hitting Production of Dark Tale

May 18, 2022 | Opera | By Nick Hammond

Richard Strauss’s one-act opera Elektra, the first of his many collaborations with librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, is unrelentingly hard-hitting throughout its one hour and 45 minutes. No room or time is given for light relief as the heroine singlemindedly pursues … Read More

Pelléas et Mélisande

Darkness and Light in Music

July 14, 2021 | Classical | By Nick Hammond

Recently, in an article on Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, I suggested that the only other 20th-century French opera that will stand the test of time is Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (1902), inspired by Maurice Maeterlink’s symbolist play from … Read More