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Performer: Stephanie Houtzeel

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

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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Baroque bawdiness at Komische Oper Berlin

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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Jaap van Zweden blazes trail for the HK Phil

The final instalment of the Hong Kong Philharmonic's Ring cycle merits the orchestra joining the international big league. 
****1
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Bechtolf's Ring returns to the Wiener Staatsoper

A festive air was palpable – the house was technically sold out – as the first of a set of three Ring cycles launched at the Wiener Staatsoper. 
***11
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Reimann’s murderous Medea at the Staatsoper

In 2010, the première of Reimann's Medea was welcomed with enthusiasm, leading the Staatsoper to relaunch it this season for a second run.
****1
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Cross-dressing abounds: Gluck's Armide

Excellent playing from Les Musiciens du Louvre and a mixed vocal performance are matched by a staging by Ivan Alexandre likely to be controversial.
**111
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