This time two baroque operas, Handel’s Acis and Galatea (complete with evil, but sad, giant) and Monteverdi’s somewhat amoral Coronation of Poppaea – and, yes, having a bit of nooky with the emperor does pay!
As with the Carousel that I was going on about a few weeks ago, both had been fitted into the odd and very restricted space available in the Arcola’s industrial building – the Acis and Galatea into their smaller space which was rather like having them perform in your living room!
For both, the instrumentalists were part of Eboracum Baroque whose founder, Chris Parsons, also directed. The singers for both were very young, many still at music colleges across the country – but in both cases, excellent. There really wasn’t a dodgy voice amongst them (indeed some were extremely good – starry careers predicted) while their acting, enthusiasm and ensemble work (both are long and difficult pieces) was really excellent. What was even better was their diction. Yes, they were working in very small theatres so it is much easier than projecting across the Albert Hall, but every word was crystal clear. Particularly welcome in the Monteverdi which has been delightfully and homourously translated by John Warrack.
Sadly the Grimeborn Festival in nearly finished – just Aikainen by Finn, Miika Hyytiäinen and William Walton and Peter Maxwell Davies (Facade and Eight Songs for a Mad King) to go next week. If you make them, enjoy!