06 Jun 2010
Capriccio/Tosca, Grange Park, Hampshire; Armida, Garsington Opera, Oxfordshire
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 June 2010]
Opera, says the Count in Richard Strauss’s Capriccio, “is an absurd thing”. Orders are sung. Politics are discussed in duets. Graves are danced on and stabs are delivered melodically. The Count has a point: it is absurd. What this imaginary 18th-century figure could not have known is that 21st-century English country house opera seems even more absurd than the old aristocratic version. Black tie is worn. Picnics are consumed. Country air is filled with the music of champagne corks.