08 Jun 2010
Armida, Garsington 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.
By Rupert Christiansen [Telegraph, 8 June 2010]
What a delightful surprise - a Rossini opera which shows him with his mind firmly on the job, from the overture’s arresting beginning to the anti-heroine’s concluding tirade. Making no lurches into banality or resorts to bang-and-clatter cliché, Rossini seems to have been unusually inspired by Tasso’s tale of the seductive sorceress Armida, who ensnares the crusader Rinaldo - perhaps partly because his talented new lover Isabella Colbran was creating the title-role.