Perhaps Graham Devlin, the new producer, had decided to ignore the original conception and did not want us reminded of it. Where Gosch was witty and symbolic, Devlin was gently farcical. An allegory of sexual mores was replaced by the customary how d'you do with a bunch of kids, and Ritter's ellipses and plain colours went for nothing.
In addition, the sensible casting of 1990 gave way to a thoroughly bungled job. Elizabeth McCormack was a nice Dorabella, but Anne Williams-King's light dramatic voice was quite wrong for Fiordiligi; all the prickly brilliance was missing. Kevin Anderson could make a handsome Rodolfo or Pinkerton but Ferrando's high lyric raptures set up a tension that squeezed his tone into a shout.
Gordon Sandison was a conversational Alfonso and Sally Harrison a cuddly baby of a Despina. Justin Brown's flaccid rhythms from the pit did little to redeem this ill-judged effort.
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