30 Jul 2006
A Little-Known Opera That Was Fit for a Prince
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 BERNARD HOLLAND [NY Times, 30 July 2006]
IN November 1779, two heating ovens designed for decoration but lighted by mistake exploded, burning Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy’s private opera house to the ground. Joseph Haydn, the prince’s director of music, lost a prized harpsichord, not to mention the scores to his marionette operas and the orchestra parts to symphonies written since 1761. This was at Esterhaza, his employer’s home rising in the swamplands that separated Hungary and Austria.