Review of Partenope

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Review of Partenope

Post  serxes on Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:29 pm

Hi as I promised here is my review of ENO's new production of Handel's Partenope which I saw last Saturday night. I will begin with the positive, which is that has some of the best handelian singers you are likely to see this year. Firstly Rosemary Joshua was vocally stunning, rich melting tones and voluptous vocall accomplishment, and very good coloratura. The role of the seductive and wilful Neapolitan queen pitting her suitors against each other fitted her like a glove, and and she looked gorgeous in the 1920's gowns, very much a cross between Lee Miller and Marlene Dietriech. The 2 female/male roles were sung by Christine Rice and Patricia Bardon, the former always excellent, and the latter for me stunning, she must be one of the finest Baroque contraltos today making her role moving and non farcical. These were aided by excellent support from John Mark Ainsley and the very good counter tenor Iestyn Davies. All of this beautifully conducted by Christian Curmyn who made the orchestra sound perfect in the delivery of this early music gem.

Now the negative, I didn't really like the production very much, and as I said it was set in 1920's Paris around the artistic bohemian demi-monde, with Partenope representing a society hostess, her potential rival Emilio as Man Ray the photographer, and her suitors as artistic hangers on. I thought it made no sense and was frankly pretentious, but I am in the minority as the critics loved it.

So my advice is go for the musical qualities, but not for me the production.

serxes

Posts : 9
Join date : 2008-10-16
Age : 54
Location : London

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