Saturday, March 29, 2014



Royal Opera and Shakespeare's Globe at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The latest show to road test the candelit intimacy of this new Jacobean space is a fresh new version of Cavalli's baroque panto. It boasts a new English libretto by Christopher Cowell – hard to see how surtitles could fit here – and in this ideal acoustic every syllable is clearly heard.
Every orifice of the theatre is used, including the trap and the fly-tower, from which Destiny and Music descend singing, the latter to give a witty new prologue to the piece.
Casper Holten's production has plenty of sight gags and slapstick, the Venetian period costumes are a feast for the eyes, but it's the glorious singing [though not much of the score is in the Monteverdi league] that make this such a memorable evening: the four young lovers – really young, not just in operatic terms – are outstanding.
In the musician's gallery, Christian Curnyn's period band add further authenticity, but if we're thinking original instruments, chief credit must surely go to the playhouse itself …

production photograph of Harry Nicoll as Eryka ©Alastair Muir

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