Reviews

Parsifal – Sun 16th September 2017

  • Anthony Negus – Wagner News -

    A beautiful sunny day and relaxed atmosphere, meeting old friends, and knowing that we had all made the effort to come so far east in order to experience a dedicated performance of Parsifal: all this contributed to being in the right mood of receptivity for the performance. I was not disappointed.

    The prelude showed off …

  • Gavin Dixon – The Arts Desk -

    www.theartsdesk.com/opera/parsifal-saffron-opera-group-review-drama-and-focus

    It is a pleasure to report on the continuing success of the Saffron Opera Wagner project. The organisation was formed in 2013, and since then has presented concert performances of the Ring cycle and Meistersinger, and now Parsifal, all with an amateur orchestra and chorus and a cast of mostly lesser-known …

  • Jim Pritchard – Seen & Heard International -

    Some self-plagiarism is good for the soul, so I will remind readers of something I have written before and how my first experience of Parsifal in a concert version was at the Royal Albert Hall in 1999. I was teaching in Southend, Essex, and I left an after-school meeting with little time remaining to get there and …

Götterdämmerung – Sun 17th September 2017

  • Roger Lee – Wagner News -

    Dämmerung! We take it to mean “dusk” referring to the decline and demise of the gods. It can just as well, of course, mean “dawn” and I wonder whether Wagner might have intended this intriguing ambiguity when altering this work’s original title of Siegfrieds Tod. Being especially good at composing them, Wagner gives us two …

  • Jim Pritchard – Seen & Heard International -

    Although I said this in previous reviews, I need to restate that the enormity of Saffron Opera’s task in putting on the Ring must not be underestimated. It has in the past defeated the English National Opera amongst others, like myself, who have tried to tackle it. In their programme it was revealed how this opera alone …

  • Charlotte Valori – operissimawhispers -

    Saffron Opera Group’s Ring Cycle finally culminated in a direct, satisfyingly shattering Götterdämmerung, in which we felt the world change as the story left the gods behind, and brought the human love and tragedy of Brünnhilde and Siegfried firmly to the fore. As in all previous instalments, the Saffron Opera Group Orchestra filled the large …

  • Peter Reed – Opera Magazine -

    It has taken Saffron Opera Group the best part of two years to complete its Ring cycle, but the long gaps between each thrilling instalment haven’t impeded the overall cohesion. This has been as much due to a continuity of sorts provided by having the same singers in some of the main roles as to …

Siegfried – Sun 12th February 2017

  • Andrew Clements – The Guardian -

    This concert performance, part of the new opera group’s Ring Cycle, made the lack of any theatrical setting cease to matter with a strong cast and sure-footed conductor Michael Thorne.

    Saffron Hall opened in 2013, offering a space with first-rate acoustics that seemed tailor-made for opera. Saffron Opera Group was formed the same year, and …

  • Paul Dawson-Bowling – Wagner News -

    Is it possible to base a successful Siegfried simply on Erda and the Woodbird? Perhaps not, but Saffron Walden came close. It would have been worth the trip to this curiously inaccessible location, miles of travel from the motorway that passes so close, just to hear Hilary Summers and Agatha Peters in these two roles.  …

  • Charlotte Valori – operissimawhispers -

    Since their affecting Das Rheingold and resplendent Die Walküre in 2016, the Saffron Opera Group’s Ring Cycle has become something of a talking point in Wagnerian circles. Using a local orchestra, but attracting international singing talent to the Saffron Hall stage, their concert performances of Wagner are reliably intense, engaging, and above all, beautifully sung. …

Die Walküre – Sun 9th October 2016

  • Paul Dawson-Bowling – Wagner News -

    It was remarkable that it could happen at all, this performance of Die Walküre; but it was even more remarkable that it was so fine. The members of the orchestra could not have had the chance to develop a collective stamina for four hours of concentrated playing, and there were occasionally some glitches and some …

  • Peter Reed – Opera Magazine -

    After the techno high jinks of the Met’s cinema relay of Tristan und Isolde the day before, Saffron Opera Group’s unencumbered concert performance of Wagner’s Die Walküre came as a blessed relief. It was also a performance that triggered the ring cycle’s main drama with considerable panache, building on an incandescent first act. The company …

  • Jim Pritchard – Seen & Heard International -

    It was time to be back in rural Essex where the Saffron Opera Group are working their way through Wagner’s Ring with a fine cohort of young professional singers and a mostly amateur orchestra which puts far more professional ensembles to shame. This followed on from full concert performances of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg …

  • Charlotte Valori – operissimawhispers -

    Usually, a Ring Cycle hits you as a sudden burst of musical and philosophical intensity, its four huge evenings sprawling across one week. In practical terms, your own life ends up on hold for the Ring as a result: real life pauses while the Ring is stolen, forged, wielded, misused, tricked away, traded, hoarded, misunderstood, …

Das Rheingold – Sun 17th January 2016

  • Jim Pritchard – Seen & Heard International -

    This was my second – and what a second – experience of a full concert performance by the Saffron Opera Group at the functionally impressive Saffron Hall, a 700plus-seat ‘state of the art’ venue that is already attracting international artists and ensembles to a rural part of Essex that was previously something of a cultural …

  • Charlotte Valori – Bachtrack -

    A concert performance can be almost a contradiction in terms for opera: music built to hold a powerful narrative, rich with visual effect and dramatic energy, suddenly finds itself all alone on stage, denuded of props and scenery. Without the distraction of stage business, without the visual aid of stage action, the music can – …

  • Paul Dawson-Bowling – Wagner News -

    Das Rheingold at Saffron Walden was magnificent.  Die Meistersinger 15 months ago had been a brave and admirable attempt, but this was the real thing, fit to be judged by the highest international standards and ranked with the best. It was almost note-perfect, something that not even Vienna or Dresden can always claim, and even …

The Rake’s Progress – Sun 13th September 2015

  • Michael Tanner – Opera Magazine -

    This was quite an event.  The Saffron Opera Group, now in its second year, put on a concert performance of Stravinsky’s biggest work, with an excellent all-round cast, a decent local chorus and orchestra, and Michael Thorne conducting (……).  His inflexible beat mainly suits Stravinsky well; this must still be a difficult score to hold …

Die Meistersinger – Sun 14th September 2014

  • Paul Dawson-Bowling – Wagner News -

    Saffron Hall celebrated its first birthday with the best performance of Die Meistersinger that I have witnessed for 40 years. The whole story of Saffron Hall is itself a matter for celebration in its own right before extolling the performance. Saffron Hall is the amazing central exhibit of Saffron Walden County High School and it …

  • Jim Pritchard – Seen & Heard International - Strong Wagnerian Debut for New Saffron Opera Group

    United Kingdom Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Soloists, Saffron Opera Group Chorus, St Albans Symphony Orchestra, Jennifer Wigram (leader), Michael Thorne (conductor), Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden, Essex 14.9.2014. (JPr)

    Cast Andrew Greenan: Hans Sachs Jonathan Finney: Walther von Stolzing Adam Tunnicliffe: David Julian Tovey: Sixtus Beckmesser Inga-Britt Andersson: Eva Anna …

  • Michael Tanner – Opera Magazine -

    I don’t suppose that anyone who wasn’t in Saffron Hall, the splendid new concert venue in Saffron Walden, will believe me, but this concert performance of Die Meistersinger was a triumph.  I hardly believe it myself, but, despite all its shortcomings, it succeeded overwhelmingly in conveying the spirit of Wagner’s protean masterpiece.  The St Albans …