15 Dec 2005
The Dream of Gerontius — Barbican, London
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
Tim Ashley [The Guardian, 15 December 2005]
For many, Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius represents the pinnacle of the late Victorian choral tradition. The composer's contemporaries, however, saw it somewhat differently. The overtly Catholic subject matter caused disquiet in Protestant establishment circles, while Elgar's style was deemed overly Wagnerian. At the time of the work's premiere some considered it to be a natural successor to Parsifal, and consequently dangerous and inherently modernistic.