20 Feb 2007
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.
Richard Morrison [Times Online, 20 February 2007]
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
In Russia, history tends to repeat itself as tragedy, then farce — then grand opera. Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina is typical: an epic attempt to dramatise power struggles in late 17th-century Moscow. And cosy they aren’t. By Act V all the jostling factions are murdered, exiled or have set themselves on fire (the opera ends with a macabre mass-immolation), thanks to the machinations of Peter the Great, who never appears — Tsarist convention dictating that you couldn’t portray a Romanov on stage.