16 May 2006
Vanessa, Teatro Massimo, Palermo
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 Francis Carlin [Financial Times, 15 May 2006]
With so much brazenly retro new opera coming from American composers, Palermo has commendably gone back to the superior source material. Barber’s Vanessa (1958) cobbles together ideas from other composers in a patchwork that often raises a sneer from knowing critics. But his cribbing from Janácek, Richard Strauss and Berg – the ball scene owes a lot to Wozzeck – is so cleverly filleted that only a jaundiced mind could object.