Sunday, May 26

Hipermestra

- June 13, 2017

Glyndebourne is never afraid of tackling something old or something new and in this year’s festival the old is a work by Francesco Cavalli. Who better to do it than Graham Vick who has the ability to pull such things off with undeniable genius, and that genius is certainly at play in this modern telling of this strange tale.

Unfamiliar with the score, there seems to be no existing recording, it was an evening packed with musical delight. The story unfolding through continuously developing musical themes, here I differ from other reviewers who thought that this was recitative which I am certain it was not. And in amongst this some very fine arias and some exquisite singing. In fact the entire cast were very fine indeed, not only in voice but also in their dramatic performances, telling the story with a strength so often missing and surely this has much to do with Vick’s clever direction.

My only complaint would be the length of the first half in which at times I felt that a short interval would have been very welcome. But after the long interval I returned refreshed and ready for more, and more, much more we got as both the story and the score were raised in intensity. So too was the set, which before the interval had been required to represent so many scenes, often leading to a business that I found distracting. Now, after the rages of battle, the stage was an impressive scene of destruction perfectly set for the increasing despair of the story.

The whole was of course held together by the music and this was provided by the very fine playing of small band from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment who under William Christie, and through their involvement at times in the action, made the whole very special indeed.

Raffaele Pe as Linceo gave a splendid performance, filled with passion as did Emoke Baràth as the the eponymous heroine. In the final quartet we were treated to some of the finest singing and most beautiful music that I have had the pleasure of hearing in some time.

9 May

Glyndebourne

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★★½


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