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Il barbiere di Siviglia (Revival) Glyndebourne Festival, 2019

Happily revival director Sinead O’Neill has succeeded in calming down the staging while preserving its joyful energy... During madcap set-pieces that resembled a production of Noises Off, the well-drilled cast, including a vigorous chorus, crawled over furniture and shinned up and down ladders. 

Amanda Holloway, The Stage

This was a magnificent performance of a superb production of a glorious opera. A trip to Glyndebourne is always a treat, but this was perfect. I doubt that I have ever enjoyed a visit to the opera so much.

William Hartston, The Express

'Revival director Sinéad O’Neill has taken Figaro’s razor and sharpened up the stage action.'

The stage action has been tightened up, with a much greater level of interaction between principals... This revival is considerably livelier than first time round, allowing Rossini’s masterpiece to be played for all its comic brilliance.

Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack

'Director's Choice' Sinéad O'Neill in Irish Times April 2019

'Senza mamma has resonated in my life since childhood'

I first heard the song in Inspector Morse... Morse’s sorrowful nature and his obsession with opera got all mixed in with my feelings about family, love and loss.

 

It’s a song that seems to contain all the sorrows of every parent and every child, every love and every death. Watching that Morse episode again recently, I saw that Senza mamma was sung by Janis Kelly. I have the honour of working with Janis for the third time this summer, and now I discover that it is her voice that has haunted me for all these years – perhaps it’s true that everything returns to us in time.

Responses to Il barbiere di Siviglia 2017

I attended  “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” on Saturday 4th November and was utterly blown over by the performance. Every singer was superb, the acting was extremely funny and made me laugh more than I have ever done before, the scenery simple, but effective and the conductor gave us excellent music.  In essence, this was the best performance of “Il barbiere” I have ever seen and heard!!!!  Interestingly, a gentleman who was sitting in the row in front of me turned round and said: “I have seen “Il barbiere” several times, including at Covent Garden, but this is the best ever!!  I replied that I totally agreed with him. Well done all of you. 

 Pelléas et Mélisande: Glyndebourne Festival at the BBC Proms

(semi-staging by Sinéad O'Neill) July 2018

This was a strange, yet fascinating, evening. Undoubtedly the best-ever semi-staging of an opera at the Proms. 

 

Jim Pritchard, Seen & Heard International

Played without some of the distractions and accretions of Stefan Herheim’s concept this performance smouldered with ever-increasing intensity; the extended silence in the Hall at the end was testament to that... Sinéad O’Neill was perhaps a tad more faithful to Maeterlinck whilst keeping the theatrical best of the cast. 

Alexander Campbell, Classical Source

Responses to The Secret Marriage 

It came across as a delightful entertainment... O'Neill's production, while set in the period of the opera's composition, projected the work as something timeless, with the characters... projecting the drama in a vigorous, earthy manner. 

 

What a triumph! Joyful music, beautifully sung and so cleverly brought to life! It was one of those performances where you wake up the next morning feeling good about life.

 

The whole opera flowed seamlessly. I was thoroughly immersed in it, and left with a spring in my step!  There was a wonderful moment when Geronimo counted his coins in time with the ascending major scale. Brilliant!  

Sinéad O'Neill interviewed on Trendfem about directing The Secret Marriage November 2018

'The music makes you want to dance and laugh, so that's what we do!'

It’s a real ensemble piece – everyone’s contribution is equally important and we really have to work as a close-knit team. Anyone can propose; everyone must react. The rehearsal room is full of energy and laughter and movement all the time.  

 

I was an intern at Wexford Festival Opera when I experienced my first ever opera rehearsal. I was completely blown away by the extraordinary power and beauty of the singing, and I knew absolutely that all I wanted to do was work in opera and experience that sensation. I still feel that intense joy and amazement when people sing.

 

The advice I wish I had been given was: don’t wait! Don’t wait for the right time, the right moment, the right preparation – just go ahead and do the things you’re planning.

 

Also, make lots of friends. Opera is the ultimate collaborative activity – you just can’t do it on your own – so make those connections and keep the creative conversations flowing.

 

 'a thoroughly entertaining evening of comic opera'

 

A simple set of archways, curtains, and chairs are entirely enough to convey the nature of the Geronimo household and the action – the entrances and exits essential for a farcical set of misunderstandings and even a fist fight between the two sisters – is well choreographed by director Sinéad O’Neill. Best of all the story is told clearly and in a way that allows the singers every chance to shine.

Owen Davies, Plays to see

Jackson’s Lane ... lends itself to ambitious stagings (Rufus Martin’s elegant set was no exception) and the elevated gallery space for the orchestra adds much atmosphere. This confident and frothy performance of Cimarosa’s typically Neapolitan opera buffa reflected Hampstead Garden Opera’s sense of ease and ownership.

 

Director Sinead O’Neill deserves much credit for getting her team to put in so much creativity and love - and get so much fun and enjoyment out. The audience clearly loved it. 

David Winskill, Ham & High

The Secret Marriage at Jackson's Lane, November 2018

Responses to On the Axis of this World

 

Every bit was so evocative, the snow flakes, the magnificent large landscape, the aurora, the animals, the waves and sea birds.

 

 I was incredibly moved by the poetry of the music and the poignancy of the words. 

 

New and spectacular... the piece was so evocative of our trips South.

Il barbiere di Siviglia (Revival), Glyndebourne Tour, Autumn 2017

'Sinéad O'Neill... excoriating influence... terrific sense of pace'

Much of the success belongs to Sinéad O’Neill, whose excoriating influence has achieved a terrific sense of pace in the uninterrupted musical trajectory and the deft handling of knockabout elements; here comic additions are never intrusive for the sake of it, and as Arden has observed, the work’s “playfulness, theatricality, light and movement … is all based in the music”. From O’Neill there is still slapstick, but it’s never over-egged and the Chaplinesque antics from three superb actors is slick and without distraction.

David Truslove, Classical Source

Sinéad O’Neill’s revival for Glyndebourne on Tour has allowed for a few unnecessary edges to be knocked off... pleasing to the eye and entertaining throughout... the set pieces fizzed along effortlessly.

Nick Boston, Bachtrack

With Sinead O’Neill as the Revival Director, what happens before you is a feast... Guaranteed to raise a smile at the very least and often laughing out loud.

Gina Lilley, What's good to do

Il barbiere di Siviglia: Glyndebourne Festival at the BBC Proms

(semi-staging by Sinéad O'Neill) July 2016

Sinéad O'Neill had successfully created a vibrant and all-encompassing staging (there was little that was semi- about it) which involved both the orchestra and conductor. The evening was full of laugh out loud moments which seemed to fill the Royal Albert Hall (no mean feat with a comedy designed for a far smaller space).

 

This was very much an ensemble production, and the cast's sense of communal timing and great physicality made it a lovely piece of theatre. 

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

And London Burned at Temple Church October 2016

And London Burned, fulfilled its brief with striking musical originality and considerable visual flair... Lit in half-shades from below, the atmosphere of the darkened church did the rest, and director Sinéad O’Neill made imaginative use of the space — characters declaiming from the pulpit; lovers glimpsed embracing in an archway; the Law Student’s shadow thrown by candlelight against wood panels.

Richard Bratby, Spectator 

It was indeed eerie - and for the history lovers, exciting - to hear And London Burned in the Temple Church... Director Sinéad O'Neill made great use of the Temple Church interior, placing voices above and around the audience, as though the listeners were at the heart of the action.

Jenna Douglas, Schmopera

Responses to The Barrington Hippo

 

I think it is really good because it has dramatic sounds and you get to actually see what is going on on the stage. It made me feel very excited when I was watching it.

On the Axis of this World at Tête-à-tête: The Opera Festival, Kings Place, 2014

'ultimately, an exploration of human nature, this time wrapped up in an exploration of the world'

Never short of drama 'On the axis of this world' took the audience along with Scott and his compatriots to the snowy wilderness of the Antarctic as we delved into their everyday lives. 

 

Hilary Glover, Planet Hugill

Sketches by audience member Sam Motherwell at On the Axis of this World