The ENO's decision to commission new works is laudable and this is quite a worthy effort. Not full, maybe an 80% house which was quite supportive.
Advantage is that it starts with a well-known story, adding to the canon of Shakespeare-inspired operas. I don't understand why it is set in vague 20th century "Ruritaarian" outfits, with Soviet goose-stepping and much military costume.
Not an expert on classical music but the score was pleasant enough, in a modern way, no memorable tunes but sung well. It did seem a bit on the one-paced side though, could have done with more contrast.
Theatrically some tricks were missed but the transformation scene was dramatically effective, the ending was a bit more downbeat though.
Great cast and production. But the opera is so short (did I actually just say that?!?) and so to me it it had no depth just Winters Tale told in bullet points
That seems to be the gist of what the reviews are saying. I only read them afterwards so it wouldn't colour my thinking but it could really have done with more character development (hence the feeling it was short), and some meatier words the singers' could have got sank their voices into. One of the most effective musical moments, for me, was the sort of whispering chorus where Leontes' people start to express discontent at him, even if it came after a pointless dumbshow. But it was far too short.
The production would also have benefitted from being set in the original vague romantic setting. This felt too much like one of those RSC productions where they make some clunking topical political point by simply dressing everyone in interwar military uniforms and ignoring the text.