29 Nov 2009
Cecilia Bartoli, The Tsarina's Slippers, Swanhunter, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
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.
Fiona Maddocks [The Observer, 29 November 2009]
Casanova, in his famously racy memoirs, instances a “foul orgy” in which half-a- dozen abbés and a bevy of pretty girls are joined in their sport by four castrati. These singing eunuchs were mutilated in their thousands before puberty, so that their voices could stay high and childlike within their chubby, gelded bodies. The best of them became rich and famous virtuosi. Many of the rest ended up in prostitution or poverty.