08 Sep 2008
The power and the glory of Messiaen's only opera
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.
Tom Service [The Guardian, 8 September 2008]
If you hear only one thing this week, let it be this. Now, if you've no time for all six hours of Messiaen's only opera, St Francis of Assisi, you have to hear the final act. It's only a hour long, but you'll experience some of the most imaginative orchestral writing ever composed: the sounds Messiaen finds for St Francis's stigmata and his death and transfiguration are indelibly emblazoned on my brain after last night's Proms performance.