Hallucinogenic drugs are not something one would generally associate with opera, yet the exciting new company Opera Alumnus’ innovative re-imagining of Handel’s Alcina chose 1960s Mexico as the backdrop, with the antagonist a sorcerer of narcotics rather than witchcraft. Librettist Saskia Wesnigk-Wood’s English translation was funny and reasonably easy to follow: a real boon for a production with no surtitles.
The staging was as colourful as the content, and the whole cast threw themselves into the subversive plot with gusto. Jessica Wise’s commanding stage presence, strong diction and lilting, distinct voice as Morgana was the standout performance, while Lindsay Thompson’s deft coloratura was a joy to listen to. An engrossing chamber orchestra rounded off a strong, great-value production which would make for a fun romp for the weekend for opera-lovers or newcomers alike.
St George’s Church, 17 November 2016
The production runs until 19th November, tickets available here