OPERA: Il Matrimonio Segreto - Cooperstown, New York

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Domenico Cimarosa's ultra-light, 1792 opera buffo seems, at first, to be an odd choice for a director of Jonathan Miller's erudition, considering that its story about the conflicts between marriages of love and convenience is like Cosi fan tutte without psychological depth.

Though Miller's recent US efforts have been cloaked in seriousness, it's easy to forget that he has an uproarious wit, which he deploys with such splendid effect, this current Glimmerglass Opera production threatens to eclipse memories of Michael Hampe's beloved Cologne Opera production.

As is typical of his recent work, Miller has an elegant, uncluttered set: a sparsely furnished 18th-century room with classical proportions, stretched and telescoped with various post-modern twists. However, there was little of the dryness that often mars Miller's work. At every point, the character motivations were externalised in the most unhackneyed, endearingly human way, usually with a momentary loss of composure. At one point, Count Robinson (a theatrical ancestor of Baron Ochs), was so baffled by the intrigue around him that he peered up at the surtitles for help.

While Miller's cast responded with stylish performances, conductor Stewart Robertson didn't seem quite so convinced of the score's worth - his slack tempos and lack of rhythmic snap were a significant drawback in a score this fragile.

29 Jul, 2, 6, 8, 10 Aug (0101-607 547 2255)

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