08 Jun 2010
Mary Stuart, Grand Theatre, Leeds
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, 8 June 2010]
When a story is based on history, we expect a fair amount of fidelity to the facts. But the job of artists is to stimulate the imagination, not to write documentaries. Maria Stuarda, the Donizetti opera based on a play by Schiller, is a good example. We know Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor never met, but that didn’t stop a German playwright and an Italian composer creating a fictional confrontation, without which the drama would lose its point. This is easy when the history is not your own. It requires clever management when English history is being dramatised for an English audience.