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polly graham - opera director

Profile | Reviews | Resources

Robin Hood – The Opera Story
Polly Graham's lively and action-packed production helped to keep things moving and helped to create a vibrant theatrical event.
Planet Hugill, 1 March 2019
And, if at any point the audience felt in danger of slipping into a reverie, there was no lack of imaginative theatrical devices – handiwork of director Polly Graham – to keep them hooked into the drama.
Bachtrack, 28 February 2019           

Dido and Aeneas – Blackheath Community Opera
Polly Graham’s vision of Dido and Aeneas is earthy, vigorous and gritty.
Opera Today, July 17, 2018

Le Vin Herbé – Welsh National Opera
Welsh Theatre Awards 2018: Best Opera
UK Theatre Awards: Achievement in Opera nomination

“…in her first mainstage production for WNO, Polly Graham tapped into the work’s implicit theatricality and modernity to create a staging that held one captive and captivated throughout”
Opera, April 2017
How then would director Polly Graham turn Martin’s strange and delicate oratorio into a piece of theatre big enough to fill an opera stage? Brilliantly, in my opinion.
Critic’s Circle, February 22, 2017
That the whole show … weaves a magical spell…Verdict: Beautifully judged staging of Frank Martin’s oratorio.
4* The Stage February 17, 2017
“ … in director Polly Graham’s revelatory staging for Welsh National Opera it proves loaded with existential dilemmas as potent as the philtre the lovers fatefully imbibe.”
5* The Independent
Polly Graham’s stark but brilliant new staging of the work … the ritual of life, love and death unfolds with a quiet but unerring monumentality. Moments of theatrical gesture are few but strong.
5* The Guardian, February 17, 2017

Get ready, here I come: 20 talents to set to take 2017 by storm 
Opera – Polly Graham
The young director been catching eyes for several years with productions for Barefoot Opera (which she co-founded), Welsh National Youth Opera and Independent Opera. Last summer’s take on Peter Maxwell Davies’s Kommilitonen! was hailed as brilliant and bold, November’s powerful production of Hartmann’s tricky anti-war rarity Simplicius Simplicissimus for Independent Opera showcased her imagination and confidence
The Guardian, Unmissable Culture 2017, January 7, 2017

Simplicius Simplicissimus – Independent Opera – Sadler’s Wells
Polly Graham’s intensely physical production for Independent Opera cleverly moves between 17th and 20th century Germany, underscoring that, whatever the era, war will always brutalise its protagonists.”
**** The Observer November 20, 2016
… Both work and staging only pull their punches in the final scene, which will haunt you long after leaving the theatre.”
**** The Guardian November 14, 2016
is worthy of the task. And it is a lot more too: 100 minutes of thrilling and sometimes shocking physical theatre … Graham goes for an eclectic period mix spiced by black-comedy stylisation … What’s most impressive, however, is the resourceful way she utilises every inch of the restricted space .
***** The Times, November 14, 2016
Simply Brilliant: Hartmann’s Simplissimuss Simplicissimus at Sadler’s Wells
Polly Graham’s terrific staging – a thrilling physical tour de force that matches the intensity of the music and drama. She marshals her cast with great mastery … In all, it would be hard to imagine a better introduction of this fascinating and gripping work to British audiences.”
***** Bachtrack, November 12, 2016

Kommilitonnen! – Welsh National Youth Opera – Memo, Barry
“ … Polly Graham’s brilliantly conceived staging …  Perhaps the highest compliment to be paid is that this was Graham Vick-style work at its most immediate and exhilarating.”
Opera, October 2016
“Polly Graham’s brilliant, explosive new production…This has got to be one of the operatic events of the year” 
Wales Arts Review, August 1, 2016
“the work emerged incredibly strongly here in director Polly Graham’s inclusive, immersive, promenade-style staging, almost cinematic in its boldness.”
***** The Guardian July 31, 2016
“In Welsh National Youth Opera’s stirring new production, this docu-opera is sobering and uplifting … the director Polly Graham transforms this piece into a promenade opera. … keeping us alert and involved.”
**** The Times July 29, 2016
 “… this production, by Polly Graham, is a dazzlingly impressive affair”
 ***** The Arts Desk, July 29, 2016