20 May 2006
The Makropulos Case
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.
Tom Service [Guardian, 20 May 2006]
The final act of English National Opera's new production of Janacek's The Makropulos Case is harrowing but uplifting theatre, a brilliant staging of some of the greatest operatic music ever written. As Emilia Marty - the 337-year-old heroine of the opera, desperately seeking the potion of eternal life to fend off her impending mortality - Cheryl Barker begins the act laid out like a corpse on top of a filing cabinet: an image of the living death her life has become. The production, directed by Christopher Alden, captures this ghoulish drama, making the stage feel like a mausoleum, with sheer, metallic surfaces and the harsh glare of strip-lights.