Wednesday 7 February 2007


I checked the ENO website, so find out what time their new production of Handel's Agrippina finishes, as we are going on Saturday. Turns out that Saturday's performance starts at 5.30pm and is due to last 3 hours 40 minutes. (Other performances start at 6.30pm). So I thought, Oh good they are doing it uncut; when they did it at the Brixton Festival they cut it heavily so the whole running time was 3 hours.

I checked the on-line synopsis and found that they are doing the opera with only 1 interval. I have a serious problem with this in 3-act operas. Especially ones as carefully constructed as Handel's. Either it means running 2 acts together or you put the interval in an unsuitable place. There's not denying that the opera is long; when I saw the Kent Opera production at Sadlers Wells I had to miss the last bit as there was a danger of me missing my train home.

Still, Fiona Maddocks in her Evening Standard review seemed to like the production and commended the cast and the singing. She was a little less convinced by David McVicar's direction, but the basis for comparison seemed to be Glyndebourne's Giulio Cesare which she described as perfect. As I found it to be rather less than perfect and rather too concerned with entertaining the audience, I'm a bit in two minds as to what we'll find on the Coliseum stage on Saturday.

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