La clemenza di Tito, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, review: Tito and Sesto's relationship was totally implausible

Claus Guth’s new production of Mozart’s 'La clemenza di Tito' didn't start off on a good footing thanks to a video malfunction, but it was saved by the music

Richard Croft as Tito and the Glyndebourne Chorus in 'La Clemenza di Tito' at Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Richard Croft as Tito and the Glyndebourne Chorus in 'La Clemenza di Tito' at Glyndebourne Festival Opera

It was rotten luck on Claus Guth’s new production of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito that the video round which it was built should malfunction calamitously on opening night. What we should have seen was two boys playing competitively with a catapult: this was Guth’s invented back-story to the friendship of Tito and Sesto, on whose threatened violent destruction the plot of this opera turns. The result was to leave everyone twitchy, a problem compounded by further factors: Richard Croft’s Tito looked like the grandfather of Anna Stephany’s Sesto, thus making their relationship totally implausible; Tito’s minicab “palace”, some scrubby grassland beneath it, and a perpetually-moving giant screen, all conspired to set up a pointless and unresolved visual cacophony.

The evening was triumphantly saved thanks in part to Mozart’s eloquent score (which needs no cinematic help), and in part to a team effort led with great refinement by Robin Ticciati in the pit. Alice Coote had difficulty finding her character as the turbulent Vitellia, but delivered a bravura display in her vocally demanding part; Michele Losier brought a lovely fullness of tone to Sesto’s friend Annio. Croft’s sound was small but sweet, and he movingly articulated his searing inner struggle; cross-dressed Stephany’s ravishingly-sung and vividly-characterised Sesto deservedly stole the show. The Glyndebourne Chorus plus the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – with its brilliant clarinet solos, and its melting harpsichord and cello continuo – wrapped everything in a glow of beauty.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in