Tag Archives: Jonathan Miller

Review: La Bohème, English National Opera

ENO emailed me an offer of a seat in row E of the stalls for the same price I paid last week to sit in the back row of the upper circle. I’m not a Puccini fan but this is his most famous opera and I thought, “why not give it a go? I am really glad I did. I have found Puccini on the radio boring but this was great theatre in a terrific production, originally directed by Jonathan Miller. It was credited as a revival by Natascha Metherell but Jonathan Miller came onto the stage at the end to take his well deserved bow. Robyn Lyn Evans was a last minute replacement for Gwyn Hughes-Jones as Rodolfo and I suspect Jonathan Miller was on hand to add some last minute direction. You would never have guessed Evans was a replacement apart from a few places where the largely unnecessary surtitles did not quite match the lines he sang.

One of the things that puts me off the Puccini that gets played on the radio is the vibrato used in many of the classic recordings. I am so glad it has gone out of fashion; I detected only the slighted traces of it in a couple of the excellent performances yesterday. Overall, it did not match the astonishing emotional intensity of last week’s Death in Venice but there is a place for both and it was certainly more tuneful.

Review: Rutherford and Son, Northern Broadside at St James Theatre

Jonathan Miller skilfully directs this excellent play by Githa Sowerby who also wrote The Stepmother which I saw at the Orange Tree a few months ago. It is shameful that before this year I had never heard of her as she is clearly one of the finest British playwrights of the early twentieth century, comparable to Shaw or Chekov. Many themes of the play, money, family ties, loyalty and sexism, are as relevant today as they were when it was written almost century ago, even the class aspects apply frighteningly well to our Eton-governed country. Jonathan Miller’s skill is to find the good in the bad characters and vice versa.