06 Feb 2007
Agrippina, Coliseum, London
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 Andrew Clark [Financial Times, 6 February 2007]
It is salutary to be reminded, in the context of English National Opera’s Agrippina, that Handel completed it in three weeks and based all but five of almost 50 vocal movements on earlier material. Three centuries ago composers were not so fussy. After doing the rounds of Italy – Agrippina was the second and last opera he wrote there – Handel never revived it. And yet to hear the music on Monday, especially the introspective arias and vocal fireworks, was to be confronted with genius.