fri 29/05/2020

Idomeneo, English National Opera | reviews, news & interviews

Idomeneo, English National Opera

Idomeneo, English National Opera

Strong ENO ensemble struggles to project the emotions of Mozart's sacrificial drama

Poseidon adventures: Robert Murray and Sarah Tynan as star-crossed lovers in IdomeneoImages by Steve Cummiskey
It's official, like it or not: director Katie Mitchell is the high priestess appointed to make plain the ways of ancient family sacrifice to modern man. She had the high ground of collaborating with composer James MacMillan on his stunning new opera The Sacrifice, based on a Mabinogion revenge saga; but the jury's still out over whether her National Theatre retelling of ancient Greek bloodgrudge wasn't rather too doggedly echoed in her production of Handel's Jephtha. Besides, when that came to ENO, there were basic problems of blocking and operatic stagecraft. They loomed large again in this modern-dress presentation of the young Mozart's bursting-at-the-seams classical drama. Yet another strong company show, the last of many this season, struggled to project its musical message across the emotional and physical distance imposed by the staging.
It's official, like it or not: director Katie Mitchell is the high priestess appointed to make plain the ways of ancient family sacrifice to modern man. She had the high ground of collaborating with composer James MacMillan on his stunning new opera The Sacrifice, based on a Mabinogion revenge saga; but the jury's still out over whether her National Theatre retelling of ancient Greek bloodgrudge wasn't rather too doggedly echoed in her production of Handel's Jephtha. Besides, when that came to ENO, there were basic problems of blocking and operatic stagecraft. They loomed large again in this modern-dress presentation of the young Mozart's bursting-at-the-seams classical drama. Yet another strong company show, the last of many this season, struggled to project its musical message across the emotional and physical distance imposed by the staging.
Bell's unique timbre took flight as Electra becomes a tipsy sex kitten, on the brink of seducing a waiter - well staged business, that

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