Fidelio, Garsington Opera review: 'Viscerally powerful'
The directorially tricky denouement generates real excitement
Monday 09 June 2014
Garsington’s high-tech opera house floats like a mirage above the rolling acres of the Getty estate, and its clientele is quintessentially well-heeled; Fidelio is about dirt, physical degradation, mortal terror, and bloody revolution.
Not an obvious match, yet John Cox’s revival of his originally underpraised Garsington production is one of the most viscerally powerful accounts of Beethoven’s opera I have ever seen.
Given the timeless relevance of the plot, it’s appropriate that the cage enclosing the action should evoke Guantanamo, but the show uses no other props. The Getty gardens are deftly exploited however – it’s a lovely moment when the prisoners stumble up into the daylight, sniffing the flowers and stretching out on the grass.
Cox’s direction is faultless, as is Douglas Boyd’s support from the pit, and the singing is of a very high standard; the first-act quartet swells and ramifies with wonderful assurance, and the choruses are magnificent throughout.
Stephen Richardson’s cuddly Rocco anchors the drama, with Jennifer France’s exquisitely-sung Marzelline dominating the first act; Rebecca von Lipinski’s Leonore has androgynous grace, and Darren Jeffery’s Pizarro a theatre-print malevolence, while Joshua Bloom incarnates the minister with rare baritonal richness.
The directorially tricky denouement (gun trumping knife) here generates real excitement, and there’s intense pathos in the way Peter Wedd’s Florestan makes his incredulous return to normal life.
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Refugee crisis: Sweden the only European country with a majority favourable towards non-EU immigration
- 2 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 3 Bob Geldof offers to take four refugee families into his home 'immediately' as he condemns humanitarian crisis as a ‘f**king disgrace'
- 4 Malnourished two-year-old found being breastfed by dog in Chile
- 5 Bryan Cranston speaks candidly about wealth
Anne Hathaway is already being stung by Hollywood ageism, aged 32
No Escape, film review: Thriller generates plenty of excitement but soon collapses
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series
The Lobster trailer: Colin Farrell has 45 days to find a lover or he'll be turned into an animal
Spanish town saved by botched restoration of century-old Christian 'Ecce Homo' fresco of Jesus
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees