Nabucco, Welsh National Opera, review: 'A stupendous chorus and excellent cast'
See opera that shot Verdi to fame at Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre
Monday 02 June 2014
Nabucco is the opera that shot Verdi to fame and begat his status as a folk hero.
Its biblical pitching of Babylonians against Hebrews just vindicates Welsh National Opera’s faith banner for this new production by director Rudolf Frey, but the real drama lies in the personal rather than the religious or political.
Historical settings are jettisoned for a bare, drab modern day, avoiding Middle East references beyond Nabucco’s Gaddafi-esque uniform and Ismaele’s kippah and tzitzit. Two cults lock horns: one garish with false glittery tat, the other freakish with ritualistic gestures, yet supposedly truer and, ultimately, victorious.
A stupendous chorus and excellent cast were the real winners. Together they soared above dowdiness and kitsch to render entirely plausible the agonies of love, jealousy and confused loyalties, supported with admirable pace and panache by conductor Xian Zhang’s WNO Orchestra.
Justina Gringyte and Robyn Lyn Evans were well-matched lovers in Fenena and Ismaele, whilst David Kempster eventually found depth as Nabucco. Kevin Short’s Zaccaria had great vocal and dramatic presence, but Mary Elizabeth Williams stole the show as Abigaillie, inhabiting with relish every clear, sensuous note. The staging will upset purists, but it’s a fabulous night at the opera.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before a character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
Black-ish: America's new 'racist' TV sitcom has had a mixed reception
Cilla, episode 3, ITV, review: Ed Stoppard steals the limelight as Beatles manager Brian Epstein
The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before a character like Homer or Lisa
The Jungle Book: A tale as old as time
Doctor Who, The Caretaker - review: Bland Earth-based adventure fails to excite
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >