Opera / “Alcina”, by Georg Frideric Handel, Nationwide Opera. At Llewellyn Corridor, repeated December 10. Reviewed by ANGELA GIBLIN.
IN the premiere efficiency of “Alcina” on December 8 there have been two modifications within the forged: conductor Graham Abbott was changed by Luke Spicer; and Sally-Anne Russell, who was scheduled to sing Bradamante, was changed by Cassandra Seidemann, who sang the function, and Zsuzsi Soboslay, who walked the function.
“Alcina” was first carried out at Covent Backyard in 1735. This dazzling opera was Handel’s final nice success in his lifetime. There have been nearly no revivals after that till the Nineteen Fifties, when Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge offered it for the Handel Opera Society in London in 1957. Thus this glorious work was revived and introduced again into the repertoire.
“Alcina” is a magic opera. The heroine of the title is a sorceress, who has created by means of her magic powers an impressive palace in an attractive panorama, out of a desert island, to lure her lovers. When she tires of 1, she transforms him right into a rock or an animal or a tree.
Is that this plausible, or an irritating operatic indulgence? Mozart’s opera, “The Magic Flute” has magic in it. So does the musical fantasy, “Frozen”. There was fairly a little bit of magic in Sydney theatres not too long ago. The protagonist of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” offered by the Sydney Theatre Firm, is Prospero, a sorcerer and Pinchgut Opera has simply mounted a superb manufacturing of “Médée” by Marc-Antoine Charpentier – Medea is a sorceress.
However human tales are actually paramount in “Alcina”, who goes from amorous voluptuary to spurned lover, and is misplaced as a result of she permits herself to be remodeled by love. She sings some of the extraordinary arias within the opera, “Ah, mio cor”, as she realises she loves Ruggiero regardless of herself.
Emma Matthews as Alcina gave an exquisite efficiency of this starry function, which makes nice calls for on the singer’s vary, emotionally and vocally: fioritura, line, the excessive, the low, and intense emotion – sensuality, calculation, rage, utter despair, love.
Rachelle Durkin was a wonderful Morgana, and in addition discovered the humour within the function, to the amusement of the viewers. Her vary is intensive, and combines with nice flexibility, and virtuoso potential.
Russell Harcourt gave a fantastic Ruggiero, with an attractive tone and superb intonation. His aria, “Verdi prati,” was transferring and easy. In addition to being a grasp of the virtuosic and ornate, Handel was grasp of the seemingly easy, of the quiet and even of silence, and this aria is an attractive instance. It additionally touches on one of many opera’s central themes: phantasm: “Inexperienced meadows, you’ll lose your magnificence”.
Bradamante was sung from the facet of the stage by Cassandra Seidemann, studying from the rating. Seidemann has a golden sound, and rescued the efficiency with it, as did Zsuzsi Soboslay, strolling the function.
John Longmuir sang Oronte with an thrilling tenor sound and dramatic stage presence, whereas bass Jud Arthur evinced a sovereign presence and a satisfyingly highly effective timbre as Melisso. Katrina Wiseman was a wonderful Oberto, vigorous on stage, and vocally totally competent.
The refrain made a fantastic contribution to the night, as did the dancers, for whom Handel composed such beautiful music.
Peter Coleman-Wright’s stage route was efficient and used the accessible sources of the stage properly.
Promising younger conductor Luke Spicer led members of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra at very brief discover, with talent and musical perception. The stability between orchestra and stage was principally wonderful. Notable have been fantastic string taking part in, some pretty recorder duos, and really pleasing French horns.
The lighting, by Mark Dyson, was placing, particularly for Alcina’s rage.
Sadly the surtitles weren’t absolutely practical.
“Alcina” is certainly price listening to and seeing. Assist your native opera!
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Ian Meikle, editor