tue 07/07/2020

Messiah, ENO | reviews, news & interviews

Messiah, ENO

Messiah, ENO

Community spirit at the Coliseum

Communion and community: Warner's Messiah mixes the sacred and the everydayLaurie Lewis
There are so many ways a dramatic production of Messiah can go wrong it is almost unbearable to think about it. Certainly, there was a palpable buzz of nervousness in the Coliseum about last night’s audience as they took their seats. Did English National Opera really think it could pull it off? Could it avoid the pitfalls into triteness that surely lurk at every corner? How would the chorus manage it? And please God, let it be better than Glyndebourne’s 2007 St Matthew Passion.

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This staging of Messiah by Warner at the ENO was dismal, ugly and mundane. But I suppose that is the kind of failure that happens when small talents impertinently attempt to interpret Genius. Let's hope she never meddles with such great works again!!

This production of the Messiah was the most unintentionally hilarious thing I have ever seen. Projecting an image of a trussed-up lamb onto a fluttering scrim during "Behold the Lamb of God"? Really? REALLY? Handel is rolling over in his grave. If there is a god out there -- and this performance was enough to turn anyone atheist -- please keep Deborah Warner away from any more great choral works. Thanks.

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