“Accommodated in a converted cattle-barn, Longborough Festival has done the world a service by banishing the rocket-science mystique surrounding Wagner’s mature operas and proving that you don’t need to be exceptionally endowed with superstar talent or vast resources to perform them adequately.
Far more vital is musical intelligence, calm determination and extensive rehearsal: given those pillars, happily underpinning Longborough, you can leave the rest to Wagner’s genius.
Following its success with the epic Ring, the festival has now turned to the chamber drama of Tristan und Isolde. At the helm yet again is the unfailing Anthony Negus. As a conductor he is neither egocentric showman nor charismatic shaman, but he knows this music inside out, both in detail and outline, pacing the drama flawlessly and building each act to its climax without squeezing or pushing.
Just as important is Negus’s rehearsal of the singers: like his mentor Reginald Goodall, he coaches with a patient attention that reaps dividends, and here he has helped a tenor and soprano new to the title-roles to surpass their previous Wagnerian achievements.”
Rupert Christiansen – Daily Telegraph
“the biggest hero of the production is Anthony Negus, who shows yet again what a genuinely great Wagnerian he is. What kind of a system is it that can have consistently bypassed a conductor of this quality? Not only does he have a complete grasp of the broad Wagner rhetoric, but he has a wonderful ear for detail, something that comes out particularly in this small house, with – I guess – fewer strings, so that the woodwind and brass speak without blasting, and the voices come across without bellowing. The sheer sound of this performance – so far as I can tell uncut – is not the least of its many pleasures.”
Stephen Walsh – theartsdesk.com
“As in the Longborough Ring cycle, the central achievement belongs to Anthony Negus, whose conducting of Wagner’s score is worth the entire evening. Negus imparts architecture and musical authority to each act, and the care that has gone into orchestral preparation shines through from start to finish.”
Martin Kettle – The Guardian
“Negus’s orchestra was glorious throughout, but in the Act III prologue he brought out the detail of the bass instruments more clearly and distinctly than I have ever heard.”
Paul Levy – Arts Journal
“this performance under the conductor Anthony Negus was about as good as it gets”
Anna Picard – The Times
“The work’s conductor, Anthony Negus, makes it a shattering success.”
David Allen” – New York Times
“Longborough’s music director, Anthony Negus – a disciple of the now legendary Wagner conductor Reginald Goodall – is a Wagnerian maestro of a calibre that should rightfully be heard and lauded at the likes of Covent Garden and Bayreuth. Meanwhile, it is Longborough’s wisdom and good fortune to have him.
“Presiding over a reduced-scale orchestra, Negus offers exceptional, profound knowledge of and empathy for this music, letting it fly by building the aerodynamics of its structure – whether streamlining to perfection the lengthy build-ups of tension in Act I, sustaining the hushed ecstasy of the love scene or bringing to life the raw agony of the wounded Tristan in Act III. His placement of details – for instance, homing in on a light-shaft of harp here or a deep-set heartbeat rhythm there – bring continual insights. And he inspires everybody, from Isolde to the bass clarinet, to excel themselves. The musical results are deeply human and emotionally shattering.”