BREMF – Orfeo

Fight for tickets! This is an ‘Orfeo’ to relish. Musically outstanding with just enough staging to hold the attention. Deborah Roberts has again assembled a superlative orchestra, the Monteverdi String Band under Oliver Webber with The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, sustained by the ever-constant Claire Williams (harpsichord, organ, regal). On this foundation the soloists and an extremely accomplished chorus were able to give of their best.

Rory Carver excels as Orfeo, the cocky, chirruping bridegroom who collapses with loss into a torrent of grief and anger. Then with convincing body-language and every ornament in Monteverdi’s elaborate score he seduces the Infernal Powers to pity. Doubts, anxiety and failure lead him to poignant desolation, all beautifully characterised with vocal virtuosity and dramatic conviction.

Orfeo’s anguish was well supported. Jenny Harper, the radiant bride Euridice, also appeared as a coy goddess of Music and as forlorn Hope. A magical moment occurred when Helen Charlston announced the fatal blow with chilling stillness. Later she and Andrew Robinson gave regal authority to the Monarchs of Hell. The tragedy only resolved when clear-voiced Apollo, Benedict Hymas, persuaded his frail and despondent son to join him in the heavens. You could wait a long time for a better rendition of Monteverdi’s masterpiece.

The Old Market, 8 November 2017


Andrew Connal

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