Saturday, 14 June 2008

Vivaldi

Vivaldi's operas seem to be in the air at the moment. Garsington have premièred his comedy, L'Incoronazione de Dario, to rather mixed reviews. Fiona Maddocks in the Evening Standard (always a critic whose opinion I respect), made an interesting comment about the work. She enjoyed the music but seemed in two minds about the opera, though she added that we still did not quite understand how to stage these operas. That we are in the position with Vivaldi which we were in with Handel 30 years ago. So expect more experimental Vivaldi productions and more articles about whether his operas are theatrically viable.

That they are is confirmed by a sparkling new DVD of Ercole s'ul Termodonte from the Spoleto Festival, directed by John Pascoe and conducted by Alan Curtis (with his Complesso Barocco in the pit). It is an intelligent and imaginative re-thinking of a traditional staging of a baroque comedy which takes the work serious and does not resort to broad comedy or slapstick. The fact that Zachary Stains, in the title role, spends virtually the entire opera naked is entirely a bonus!

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