La rondine [2023]

“Puccini’s La rondine…is not ideal for a concert performance, but Midsummer Opera…made it work very successfully.. all the roles were strongly realised – and that includes the 32-strong chorus who rose to the challenge of Act 2’s café scene with a will…very much a concert staging with attitude.”  (Opera magazine, February 2024)

Dialogues des Carmélites [2019]

   John Upperton’s “… production packed a powerful dramatic and emotional wallop …  At key moments the staging extended to the aisles, most strikingly in the almost unbearable finale when each nun in turn removed her headscarf, added it to a growing pile, and walked away up the central aisle until her voice was silenced by the slash of the guillotine blade.  At first sight Marie Elizabeth Seager’s fearsomely beautiful Mère Marie resembled an impassive Madonna … even her smile was calculated to strike terror into every heart …  Her devastation on learning that she was excluded from the martyrdom which she had initiated was shattering.  She has a gorgeous dramatic mezzo voice of which I want to hear more.  But for me the performance of the night came from Zoë South, whose Madame Lidoine had a radiant certainty … and whose voice soared with Isolde-like glory.  The moment when she joyfully made the sign of the Cross to the jailor who had just given her her death sentence, caught at my heart.  All the large supporting cast were excellent.

   “Choral interjections in this opera are few but when they come they are mighty, and the Midsummer Chorus, whether ranged along the aisles or invading the platforms, struck terror into our hearts.  David Roblou led the Midsummer Orchestra in a glorious account which made light of the complexities of Poulenc’s scoring and made even the grave liturgical passages sound doom-laden and uneasy …  I can’t wait to see what this talented company does with next summer’s show, The Bartered Bride.  Book now!”  (Harmony magazine, published quarterly by the Music Club of London)

Andrea Chénier [2019]

   “Lynne McAdam’s potent semi-staging, set across three platforms of varying height with the orchestra as backdrop, had all the punch of a full production …  With its lavish opportunities for the chorus and its multiplicity of rewarding small roles, Chénier is an ideal opera for this enthusiastic ensemble, with music director David Roblou in charge of a thrilling performance …  John Upperton’s singing as Chénier was on a heroic scale.  Andrew Mayor triumphed as the footman turned revolutionary whose ideals are crushed.  His mighty aria, Nemico della patria, was deeply moving and superbly sung.  Among the array of lesser characters, Steven Cviic excelled as a handsome, elegant, utterly dangerous Incredibile …”  (Harmony magazine)

Luisa Miller [2018]

   “It is as an almost symphonic sweep that the score makes the greatest impact.  David Roblou’s conducting of Midsummer Opera grasped that convincingly with an interpretation of considerable heft …  The organ of St John’s received a cameo role conjuring an atmosphere of more authentic ecclesiastical solemnity than any number of theatre organs would.”  (

Macbeth [2018]

   “David Durham took the title role.  His experience in straight drama and musicals came through in his complex portrayal of the initially vacillating, increasingly ruthless anti-hero, and his terror at the banquet was especially effective …  His Lady, Zoë South, predictably brought the house down with her glorious singing and made the most of the production’s emphasis on how the murderous couple are destroyed by their guilt.”  (Harmony magazine)

La Gioconda [2017]

   “The marathon title role is a plum for a soprano who, like Zoë South … can tackle it with conviction and the right sense of scale.  She swept from biting chest notes to powerful top Cs …  Always making vivid use of the text as an actress, under Lynne McAdam’s canny direction, she knew just when less would be more.  Her relationship with her mother was sensitively drawn and Siân Woodling, singing in a freely-flowing contralto, lent La Cieca both spirit and dignity … John Upperton, powerful but lean of voice, brought a buccaneering edge to Enzo and deserves special credit for opening Cielo e mar, his big tenor moment, as a gentle rhapsody.  Trevor Alexander’s … warm, robust baritone never faltered in a part [Barnaba] that is the counterweight to La Gioconda herself. … the chorus [was] always alert to the music and drama …  In the benign resonance of St John’s Waterloo the orchestra, placed behind the soloists, sounded astonishingly luxurious, not least in the much-parodied but delightful Dance of the Hours, and produced spine-tingling brass-heavy climaxes.  David Roblou’s command of his forces … was superbly idiomatic.”     (Yehuda Shapiro, Opera magazine)

   “It was the musicians’ engagement with the score that came over most of all.” (

Riders to the Sea/Henry V [2017]

[Riders]  “Lynne McAdam’s production was conducted with great sensitivity …  The work emerged as a symphonic unity.”

[Henry V]   “The chorus excelled … it was good to have such vital music so vividly resuscitated.”  (Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Journal)

Don Giovanni [2016]

   “I was blown away by the sound Roblou got out of his orchestra … it puts some professional bands to shame … music-making, done for the love of it … a rather marvellous reminder of what it’s all about.”  (Opera Now)

Un ballo in maschera [2015]

   “Under the baton of David Roblou, this performance exuded passion and dedication with all performers joining forces for the love of art.  The Symphony Orchestra of Midsummer Opera performed the Prelude with moving swells of sounds and a rich timbre was maintained throughout interspersed musical interludes.  John Upperton … led the ensemble with a strong voice and beautiful lyricism.”  (

Tosca [2015]

   “The company has opera in its blood.  To be able to sit so close is a treat you’ll never get at the Opera House, too. We’re enveloped by the sound …  These singers are singing out of love for opera.  And my goodness, it shows …  Artistic Director David Roblou conducts with flair, drawing meaty playing from the musicians (particularly the sensational brass section) …  John Upperton steals the show with a respectable, humble interpretation of the man who steals Tosca’s heart … (he) makes us believe that for him, singing is as natural as talking.”  (

La clemenza di Tito [2014]

   “The cast largely impressed.  Upperton’s communication of the text was perhaps the clearest of all, though Lucy Goddard as Annio came close.  Both carried well over the orchestra too, as did Nicola Ihnatowicz’s Vitellia, for me perhaps the star of the show.  Ihnatowicz showed great dramatic presence, both visually and vocally, in what is by any standards a demanding role.  Andy Armistead made for an impressively deep-toned Publio, with Emma Dogliani shining as Servilia when the role permitted her to do so.  Choral singing was impressively full-bodied throughout … the orchestra propelled the drama … and sounded properly full-bodied.”  (

Otello [2013]

   ” A remarkable event, one of the most vivid, stirring, and engrossing of many live encounters with Verdi’s and Boito’s great tragedy … far more than a concert performance … John Upperton is evidently a born Othello, with lyrical sound that is pure, powerful, and ringing;  spot-on pitches;  no forcing, shouting, or screaming;  intelligible, communicative command of Italian …  David Roblou conducted with an easy, unexaggerated command of impetus and flow, excitement and romance …  St John’s has vivid acoustics.  And somehow one felt oneself closer to the opera, more thoroughly in touch with Verdi’s intentions and inventions, than is possible in La Scala – or in any big opera house with a modern sunken pit.  The house lights were left on (as in Verdi’s day), which increased the intimacy … this well rehearsed, accomplished, lyrical account of it provided a new, wonderful experience of the opera.”  (Andrew Porter in OPERA magazine)

   “Overall it was wonderful to see and hear such a grand orchestra.  The packed audience at St. John’s obviously enjoyed this performance of Verdi’s Otello …  Long may MSO thrive and continue to give such pleasure.”  (Seen and Heard International)

   “The opening chord almost took the roof off …  David Roblou gave an accomplished account of the score … the large orchestra, Midsummer Opera’s own, was generally impressive.”  (

Der Freischütz [2010]

   “The Symphony Orchestra of Midsummer Opera produced an evocative reading of Weber’s masterpiece … matched by the Chorus of Midsummer Opera, also on excellent form … highly recommended.”  (Opera Britannia)

   “David Roblou has been MSO’s artistic director since 2000 and his cajoling hands set his extremely competent players a mostly even tempo for this complex score … there were no longueurs and the Wolf’s Glen scene – aided by Rupert Pentargon’s baleful, booming utterances as Kaspar and a few ghostly theatrical effects – was as atmospheric as one could hope.  Midsummer Opera did a great service in reminding an enthusiastic audience of the work’s potential, and therefore, its almost incomprehensible neglect.”  (Seen and Heard International)

Turandot [2007]

   “A chance to hear, quite vividly, the fine playing of the seventy-strong orchestra …  The cast rose magnificently to the challenge …  Conductor David Roblou and his forces gave a strong, gripping performance …  This production was a huge achievement for a relatively small company and was made all the more so by the way the group successfully championed the rarely performed complete ending.  (Music & Vision)

And a few older reviews…

Dido & Aeneas/Venus & Adonis [1993]

   “An evening of civilised delight.”  (The Stage)  

Agrippina [1992]

   “Special mention must go to David Roblou and his period instrumentalists for making Handel’s orchestral writing spring to life.”  (The Independent )

   “What is noteworthy is the quality and professionalism of the performers.”  (The Stage)

Così fan tutte [1991]

   “A Mozart tribute too good to miss … an electrifying performance by the Midsummer Opera Company.”  (The Royal Gazette, Bermuda)

Partenope [1990]

“A revelation … fine singing … skilful translation … all stylishly accompanied on period instruments.”  (Classical Music)

Atalanta [1987]

“With David Roblou in charge of the music and Alan Privett … doing the production, it was a memorably well-judged and musically rewarding performance.”  (The London Magazine)

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