Wednesday 27 February 2013

Medea at the London Coliseum

On the evening of Wednesday 20th February 2013 I attended the English National Opera's performance of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Medea at the London Coliseum. This continues ENO's pioneering exploration of French baroque operatic masterpieces with this being the first ever UK/London staging of Charpentier's dramatic full scale opera.

The exemplary cast included internationally acclaimed British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly in the title role, US tenor Jeffrey Francis making his ENO debut as Jason, internationally acclaimed bass Brindley Sherratt returning to ENO to sing the role of Creon and exceptional baritone Roderick Williams as Orontes. David McVicar directed this reworking of Medea which updates the opera to the close of the Second World War. The Opera is set in a baroque palace which is being used as a war room and meeting place for allied officers.

Banished, betrayed, besieged on all sides, the barbarian sorceress Medea exacts a terrible vengeance upon her faithless lover and all those he holds most dear. David McVicar reworked one of the most disturbing of all the Greek myths, that of a mother who murders her own children. Charpentier’s thrillingly orchestrated score boasts a harmonic daring and psychological complexity unparallelled in its day.

This was an amazing evening to be at the London Coliseum as Sarah Connolly put on a wonderful performance as Medea on a brilliant but scary night on St. Martin's Lane. The musical theatre choreography with prancing sailors and chorus girls made for some light relief and laughter during the Opera. I always enjoy my visits to the London Coliseum as it is very interesting to see how the ENO are going to rework the Opera's they perform. This was a great success for the ENO and made this a night to remember for me at the Opera in London.

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