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Performer: Stefan Herheim

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All the world's a stage: Xerxes as a comedy of backstage rivalry

Valer Barna-Sabadus (Xerxes) and Torben Jürgens (Ariodates) © Hans Jörg Michel
A revival of Stefan Herheim's production of Handel's Xerxes in Düsseldorf makes for a rip-roaring evening of theatrical comedy.
****1
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A tale of many Tchaikovskys: The Queen of Spades at ROH

Vladimir Stoyanov (Yeletsky / Tchaikovsky) © ROH | Catherine Ashmore
Herheim places the composer at the centre of his opera in a staging that's clever and erudite but somewhat cold; musical performances are mixed.
***11
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La Cenerentola in Edinburgh: comic direction to savour

Taylor Stayton, Nikolay Borchev, Michèle Losier, Renato Girolami © Xavi Montojo
Herheim pulls us in unexpected directions, makes us laugh and makes us think as we enjoy fine Rossinian music and singing in Opéra de Lyon's production.
****1
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An enigmatic Pelléas et Mélisande at Glyndebourne

John Chest (Pelléas) and Christina Gansch (Mélisande) © Richard Hubert Smith
Stefan Herheim's dreamlike production of Debussy's opera sets it squarely in the Sussex manor house that gave birth to Glyndebourne's festival. 
***11
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A boisterous romp at the Komische Oper

Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (Barbe-bleue) © Iko Freese | drama-berlin.de
Stefan Herheim packs puns and gags into a three-hour long show, but less could have been more. 
***11
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Baroque bawdiness at Komische Oper Berlin

Stephanie Houtzeel (Xerses), Nina Bernsteiner (Romila) and Nora Friedrichs (Atalanta) © Jaro Suffner
With many costume changes, notably into a Sun-King with very prominent phalic sunburst, Houtzeel held centre-stage in the title role.
****1
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