MUSIC / Antigone - Ensemble Leporello / Riverside, London W6

Meredith Oakes
Friday 03 July 1992 23:02
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Each performer in Belgium's Leporello Ensemble is an acrobat, dancer, actor and singer. More startling, they all do all of it well. Their Antigone (three nights at the Riverside in Hammersmith from Thursday) is a very bright spot in London Opera Festival's otherwise dodgy string of avant-garde illuminations. The electronic score by Luc Brewaeys incorporates two live percussionists as well as the voices onstage. Drums - machine-gun rattle and Afro pounding - are the dramatic nerves. The long, slow electronic sounds are an ambient psychological landscape. The German-French-English (etc) text: sung, fragmented, murmured in semi-chaos, or brought sharply forward in syllabic choral solos, reduces the savage Greek story to essences that sweep the stage as through a highly-charged collective mind. There is nothing unprecedented here except the beautiful craftsmanship, the perfect blend of means, and the excitement. The stage contains only a well-made revolve of smooth planks, spun frighteningly fast by hand. The leaps, lifts and feats of daring involved in getting on and off it create their own music of fluctuating interdependence and strife, a dance of flying human particles now bonding, now laying everything waste. Director-librettist is Dirk Opstaele.

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