19 Apr 2006
In Opera, a Different Kind of Less Is More: 'Handel and the Castrati'
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 ALAN RIDING [NY Times, 19 April 2006]
LONDON, April 13 — More than most art forms, opera demands a suspension of disbelief. For a long time this included accepting that a man could sing with the voice of a woman. It was not a natural gift, but the results often drove audiences wild: castrati, as they were known, were among the rulers of the 18th-century opera stage.