|Liudmyla Monastyrska as Abigaille in Nabucco © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013|
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Apr 13 2016
Fine individual performances and superb choral singing enliven a rather grey production
|Liudmyla Monastyrska as Abigaille and Dimitri Platanias in the title role|
Nabucco © ROH / Catherine Ashmore
Daniele Abbado's production, with designs by Alison Chitty, loosely updates the piece to the mid-20th century. Nazi persecution of the Jews is evoked, but only loosely and Chitty's sets are quite abstract. She has created a series of striking settings, within which Abbado moves his players in a manner which could be set in any period. The predominant colours are grey and beige, though this may have been exacerbated by the fact the Luca Scarzella's videos on the rear wall were only partially visible from our seats in the Amphitheatre, and for what we could see the colours were profoundly muted.
The biggest problem for us was that there seemed to be little visual differentiation between the Israelites and the Babylonians. With Abbado's preference for having chorus members as observers in scenes where they were not involved, this meant that it was often difficult to tell which group the chorus was playing at the time. Perhaps this was the idea!
In fact, it is a rather old-fashioned production and relies on the cast to bring it alive, and here it helped that we were treated to some extremely strong performances.