Monday, November 02, 2009


ENO at the Coliseum


This acclaimed McVicar production of 2007, revived for just six performances, boasts three of the original singers, and a new conductor, the legendary Charles Mackerras, who worked with Britten on the original production, sharing the conducting with the composer in 1954 when the opera arrived in London after the Venice première.

The capacity audience was an eclectic mix of ages and backgrounds – many coming to the piece for the first time, perhaps encouraged by the London Evening Standard's incredible tenors for tenners offer.
They saw a wonderfully designed production, all sliding screens, mirrors and autumn leaves. And set firmly in the nineteenth century – no Glyndebourne postwar austerity here.
This is a chamber opera, and all the players are crucial. Ann Murray as Mrs Grose the housekeeper was the doyenne of the company, with Michael Colvin as a creepy, ghoulish Quint and Charlie Manton as his knowing, tough little Miles. Very strong too were Rebecca Evans as a sensitive governess, Cheryl Barker as Miss Jessel, and Nazan Fikret as a rather mature Flora. Both she and Charlie sang their parts with impressive poise and musicality.

The six servants, smoothly setting the scene, sometimes confused the eye, but reminded us that these children, these ghosts, are not alone in the great house of Bly.

This piece also appears on the ES site.
Richard Morrison's piece in The Times.

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