© Anna Picard – The Telegraph: “That set designers are influenced by commercial decor is understandable given how much time they spend away from home. But life isn’t all boutique hotels. In reviewing Opera North’s “Eight Little Greats” season over the last two months, I realise I have yet to mention Johan Engels: designer for all eight operas and something of a genius at striking, organic, original design within a tight, economical framework. It’s much to his credit – and that of all of the performers involved in this ground-breaking ensemble project – that each opera has so successfully created its own world that his sets become real for the duration of the music: (…) cruel and corrupted and oddly like that nice bar around the corner to the right from the Grand Theatre for Alden’s Djamileh. Bizet’s sleazy Orientalist bodice-ripper won’t be featuring on my desert island play-list, but this was, again, a triumph for Engels, Alden and Opera North’s excellent cast.”