04 Mar 2006
Viardot And Friends, Wigmore Hall, 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.
By Robert Maycock [Independent, 3 March 2006]
It was meant to be the evocation of a star from 19th-century Paris. Pauline Viardot, the Spanish-born mezzo-soprano, inspired the city's composers with her voice, and the writer Ivan Turgenev with her soul and whatever else it took to establish a ménage à trois alongside her accommodating husband. You can read histories of the period and scarcely be aware of her prowess as a composer. This concert aimed to set the record straight.