Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Coronation of Poppea by the English Touring Opera

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this yesterday.  The cast was excellent, but I should mention two in particular.  John-Colyn Geantey (who is black) played Poppea's nurse was delightful.  He was utterly convincing in character right down to the gait of the nurse.  I was reminded of Mammy being played by Hattie McDaniel in Gone With The Wind.  He really did have the best lines, warning Poppea that to wish for marriage to Nero would be to wish for death amongst other things.  Singing Poppea to sleep he exuded all the love of a concerned mother anxious for her daughter's future. While exulting in Poppea's marriage to Nero, he was quite simply exultant.  Geantey is indeed a rising star and I look forward to seeing him again, especially in similar roles.  

I should also mention Hannah Pedley who completely brought home to me very starkly the miseries of exile as Ottavia the ex-wife of Nero.

The audience was distinctly elderly, but perhaps that could soon change with the right kind of marketing.  

The final song was of course the sexiest song in opera, for all time, probably.  You can hear it at near the end of the 28th minute.  

I quite see that Monteverdi's contemporaries were rather uneasy that such a ravishingly beautiful aria should emerge from the mouths of characters known for their foul deeds.  

Highly recommended.  

If I had loads of money I would certainly some of it lob it at the ETO, who are held in affection by me for the raciness of their stage directions.  

I saw them in Penang once many years ago doing The Marriage of Figaro.  There were only three singers and the stage was practically bare.  The singing was faultless, and I remember how the audience was a little taken aback by the male character fondling the breasts of a female character from behind.  

I enjoyed it so much I saw a full production of it in London but that was really so very disappointing.

Three cheers for ETO!  

Does anyone want to see Agrippina or Jason with me next month?  

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