Rinaldo, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lewes, review: Glorious preposterousness'
None of the directorial liberties are at the expense of the music
Monday 11 August 2014
Traditionalist Handelians had trouble accepting the playful take by director Robert Carsen and designer Gideon Davey on Rinaldo at its premiere three years ago; judging by the audience’s response to this revival under Bruno Ravella, that original resistance has been overcome.
By setting the First Crusade in a schoolroom - with the hero a fantasising Harry Potter figure – this show lets the magic and silliness of the plot take wing with glorious preposterousness; none of the directorial liberties are at the expense of the music which – with that incomparable countertenor Iestyn Davies in the title role – ravishes the heart as it should.
One just feels sorry for the other countertenors – Tim Mead and Anthony Roth Costanzo – who must share the stage with him; both excellent, both hopelessly outshone.
One assumes Handel had fun staging this show in 1711, and Ravella and his movement director Philippe Giraudeau certainly have fun now, much aided by the extraordinary Karina Gauvin as a dominatrix-style Sorceress attended by a posse of Furies from St Trinians.
It didn’t matter that some of Handel’s triumphal sinfonias were barely audible above the gales of laughter provoked by the spiralling madness on stage; for most of the evening, we savoured the exquisite playing of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Ottavio Dantone’s direction – and particularly that of its continuos – with bated breath. I just want to see this marvellous show again - immediately.
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 3 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'