"Figaros bryllup, denne klassiske forviklingskomedien som Mozart gjorde udødelig opera av, er i Kilden blitt en sann fest for folk flest...er handlingen løftet inn i vår tid. Greven er blitt filmregissør, den hotteste i Hollywood, og grevinne Rosina hans forsømte make. Figaro er regiassistent og Susanna er sminkør. Pasjen Cherubino er blitt praktikant, og når han i originalen blir sendt i militæret, blir han her sendt til innspilling av en krigsfilm i Bodø. Denne omplasseringen av miljø og roller er meget godt gjennomført, til ytterste konsekvens, og gjør faktisk handlingen både troverdig og ikke minst forståelig. I 2016 er forhold mellom overordnet og underordnet mer begripelig enn forholdet mellom adel og tjenerskap på 1700-tallet."
["The Marriage of Figaro, this classic situation comedy that Mozart made into an immortal opera has become a joy for everyone......the action is made contemporary. The Count has become a film director, the hottest in Hollywood, and Countess Rosina is his neglected spouse. Figaro is his assistant and Susanna is the makeup girl. Cherubino, the page, is an intern, and when he in the original script is sent into the army, he is now sent off to be on a film set in Bodø. Transplanting place and roles in this way has been very well carried through, to the utmost detail, and makes the plot both credible and not least comprehensible. In 2016 the relationship between superior and subordinate is easier to grasp than that of aristocracy and servants in the 18th century… Good singers who also are good actors lift the performance to a high level of music, drama and comedy."
"...a frisky account of one of the few genuinely comic operas, Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia
... James Hurley's production buzzes with rude energy... and the singers commit to the comedy while skilfully negotiating Rossini's outrageous vocalism."
The Evening Standard
"FIVE stars for an opera with no orchestra, very little design, and no big stars... this delightful production of the Barber of Seville
provided a marvellous evening's entertainment... nothing quite compares with Pop-up in the sheer exuberance of their productions. And this Barber of Seville may be the best thing they have yet done."
The Sunday Express
"Using just a handful of props, director James Hurley creates a contemporary gangland setting, riven by revenge and brutality. He also draws some impressively detailed acting from the performers... [the] tomb scene is as emotionally wrenching as in any staging I've seen. Some of the audience were openly sobbing; my own eyes were pricking. Bellini must have been looking down in delight... It's opera without the frills, pared down to the thrills."
"On the fringes of a city of great wealth and great poverty, in a dilapidated hospital ward strewn with dirty dressings and plastic sacks of contaminated waste, a door slams shut against the outside world. Nose bloodied, suit and tie dishevelled, his belongings bundled into a cardboard box, Cortigiano is the latest patient to be admitted to a place for those whose ailments have no physical cause. As the lights go down on James Hurley's production of L'Ospedale
, a five-part madrigal of piercing sweetness and audacious dissonance begins in the darkness...L'Ospedale
is translated into a Brass-Eye style satire on 21st-century mental health provision by Hurley... The humour is savagely politicised (Abati's prologue and epilogue become speeches from a duplicitous minister in the House of Commons, complete with baying backbenchers.) The singing and playing is sublime, and the acting is fearless in its physicality"
"Should healthcare be freely available to all? Can one trust a doctor who creams off profits for himself? How far are physical and mental sickness caused by socio-economic conditions? An opera tackling these issues could hardly be more timely... In James Hurley's up-to-the-minute production, with Rachel Szmukler's hospital ward setting, the allegorical figure of Sanita (Health), is incarnated by Jeremy Hunt, promulgating policies uncannily similar to the doctor's remedies... The newly refurbished Wilton's Music Hall is the ideal space for this spookily topical and entertaining endeavour."
"...a sharply observed piece of social commentary - an operatic Private Eye, with its gaze turned mercilessly on the healthcare system...given a pretty un-improvable contemporary premiere"
The Arts Desk
"James Hurley sets the action at floor level where the stalls would normally be, in a simple set with a curtained hospital bed, a rusty wheelchair and far too many neglected urine samples... It's all good, riotous fun... the gags come thick and fast, the acting, directed by James Hurley, is excellent from everyone... L'Ospedale
is a treat - a puff-pastry vol-au-vent of a piece. Go see it."
"a highly physical comedy of institutional and individual insanity... Hurley played cleverly with our sympathies, trapping us in the act of laughing at, as well as with, the lunatics taking over the asylum... Lamenting the death of a golden age is something of a tradition in these pages. How nice, then, to hear something of a future golden age, at least in early opera, with healthy vocal production, expressive singing, dynamic playing and fearless acting."
"A scalpel-sharp satire on the medical profession brought uncomfortably up to date in director James Hurley's slick production, it's a work whose contemporary resonances alone would merit it a place in the repertoire, even if these were not set to expressive, Cavalli-esque melodies and muscular instrumental dances."
"...an operatic version of Carry on Matron
, only darker... an amiable curiosity, done with imagination."
"Solomon's Knot's first operatic venture is an artistic triumph... Altogether this was a welcome reminder that the major opera houses in London do not monopolise the market in imaginative, innovative productions of musical theatre."
"Director James Hurley's staging updates the action to the present... the satire was certainly au courant, the gags inventive, and the polemic provocative... an earnest critique of the medical profession, historic and modern, and also exuberant fun... it communicated directly and with thought-provoking candour."
"James Hurley's staging [of Idomeneo
]... integrated chorus and extras into a brutal contemporary reading of the piece, with lots of security-police aggro and the "sea monster" replaced by diseased incomers puking blood... Thrilling."
"...director James Hurley confronted us with a beach society in crisis, insinuating his immense chorus into the action at every point. It was all about the people. Marooned in the sand dunes, mixing compassion with brutality, the leaderless Cretans could barely cope with an influx of Trojan 'boat people' refugees, not least the children. When Neptune's plague strikes, a graphic presentation of buckets and bloody bandages hints at Ebola. With the monster on the loose, emergency services - improvised under the designer Rachel Szmukler's sputtering arc-lamps - teeter on the brink. There is no money, no order and only a tenuous thread of community spirit.
All this made for an immersive, in-the-round theatrical experience... When opera is presented on this scale and with this directness, it's hard not to be moved."
"James Hurley... sets Idomeneo
in our time. With modern references carefully thought-through and the immediacy of no audience-member being more than four rows from the action, this Idomeneo hits home with the visceral force of a live TV news-story from a beleaguered war zone beset by pestilence. It is absolutely thrilling."
"...a truly transcendent experience... the modern-dress staging by director James Hurley and his lighting designer Ben Pickersgill cleverly referenced contemporary crises such as the Mediterranean boat refugees and the continuing shame of slavery to give this epic production up-to-date relevance."
"[L'Italiana in Algeri
]...beautifully sung and superbly, expressively acted...in the best sense playful"
"...a personality all of its own that reminds you that opera, inter alia, can actually be quite fun."
"...director James Hurley ensured that the production was always on the move and busy with natural, well-integrated movement that explored the full range of possibilities in the space. The cast were apparently fully relaxed and enjoying themselves...[a] wonderful, life-affirming production"
"...alters Rossini's creation to an extent that even Calixto Bieito, given entirely free rein by English National Opera, would not contemplate...but its cleverness derives from the fact that for all its innovation it parallels the original very closely... James Hurley's production is tight and the touches throughout amusing."
"Hurley manages to find meaning in the madness — squeezing the action into this boxy space as though it was written to be performed here... Hurley keeps the story floating just above the realms of chaos into which it can so easily descend, and everyone in the room is grinning, thoroughly absorbed."
"A well-presented and one-of-a-kind production of a beautifully written opera... an undeniable pleasure to watch from start to end. Pop-Up Opera have proved here that opera can indeed be fun, comical and enchanting all at the same time. This is the most human and relatable that opera has ever felt to me."
"...supported by good acting and superb singing...James Hurley's direction makes the most of the space and audience layout to envelop us and make us co-conspirators in the antics."
Bargain Theatre Land