20 May 2006
The Makropulos Case
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.