Opera review: Agrippina (English touring opera, Britten theatre, London)

 

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The Independent Culture

What is it? Handel’s witty comic opera, about scheming and jostling for the Roman throne. Staged by English Touring Opera, it’s directed by James Conway and conducted by Jonathan Peter Kenny. Gillian Webster is Agrippina; Jake Arditti is Nero, and Paula Sides is Poppea.

The Independent says: “[an] inspired production, in which the sight-gags come thick and fast, and in which an ensemble performance of enormous wit and zest is supported by an ingenious rotating set plus marvellous costumes by designer Samal Blak, and by Julie Osman’s perfectly-judged choreography. Conway’s rhyming translation works a treat, and the period-instrument Old Street Band… are right inside the idiom.”

They say: The Times: “Call this the original Game of Thrones, as the eponymous Empress plots to get her son Nero the top job.James Conway’s new production and his lucid translation are a few shades too polite.”

Evening Standard: “Conway’s sparkling new production … gives the comic screw a twist or two and his version, spiced with his own zippy translation, is genuinely funny.”

You say: @oligerrish: “Agrippina was marvellous and malicious!”

Details: touring to 23 November; englishtouringopera.org.uk

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