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The conducting of Robin Ticciati is the most eloquent yet in Rusalka at Glyndebourne

The conducting of Robin Ticciati is the most eloquent yet, and the playing of the London Philharmonic beyond reproach in Rusalka at Glyndebourne

Rusalka

Glyndebourne, East Sussex                                                            Until August 21

Rating:

Melly Still’s 2009 production of Dvorak’s Rusalka returns for its second revival and remains a feast for the eyes. Design, movement and lighting are all of the highest quality, as is the dancing. 

Still’s control of the drama remains unerring, with every opportunity taken to lighten the atmosphere with humour. It’s a first-class piece of theatre, and one of Glyndebourne’s finest recent productions.

Half girl and half fish Rusalka longs to escape the lake and become a woman, to fulfil her love for the lonely Prince who visits her. The surgical alterations made by the witch don’t go far enough to make her prospective marriage to the Prince especially promising (too much information!), so his return to a previous relationship with the Foreign Princess, an ambitious old boiler, causes Rusalka to flee back to the lake. 

Design, movement and lighting are all of the highest quality, as is the dancing (Colin Judson as the Gamekeeper, surrounded by wood nymphs)

Design, movement and lighting are all of the highest quality, as is the dancing (Colin Judson as the Gamekeeper, surrounded by wood nymphs)

The Prince pursues her and, in typical operatic style, dies in her arms, apparently having been poisoned by her kiss!

It’s a minor miracle that Dvorak could make something so memorable out of such unpromising stuff. Sadly, the singing this time around is a bit mixed.

Sally Matthews’s Rusalka is disappointing. Twenty years after she won the Kathleen Ferrier Award, her voice has spread, and there’s a persistent wobble under pressure. Sad to say, there is inadequate differentiation between her and Zoya Tsererina’s Foreign Princess, when there should be all the difference in the world. 

Sally Matthews’s Rusalka is disappointing but there is a promising Glyndebourne debut from the young American tenor Evan LeRoy Johnson as the Prince

Sally Matthews’s Rusalka is disappointing but there is a promising Glyndebourne debut from the young American tenor Evan LeRoy Johnson as the Prince

A younger singer should have been engaged, who could have blended better with the ardent, fresh tones of the Prince, a promising Glyndebourne debut from the young American tenor Evan LeRoy Johnson.

Alexander Roslavets is a forcefully charismatic Vodník but Patricia Bardon as the Witch isn’t a patch on Larissa Diadkova last time.

The conducting of Robin Ticciati, however, is the most eloquent yet, and the playing of the London Philharmonic beyond reproach.

 

Inimitable, Irresistible Hollywood And Broadway

The Grange Festival, Hampshire

Rating:

For a staid, country-house opera crowd to cheer John Wilson before he even reached the podium is a sure sign of the inroads he and his marvellous orchestra have made into popular taste. 

Wilson’s exhumations of the finest film musicals of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties isn’t just a case of conducting the stuff. He and his team have to spend hundreds of hours rescoring a lot of it, because the originals have been lost or, in the case of some great MGM musicals, dumped under a golf course in southern California.

This concert was devoted to Gershwin in Hollywood. Since the tragically short-lived composer only went there late on, it gave us the chance to hear less well-known songs than the Broadway melodies that made his reputation. 

Great listening all the way through.

Another sign of the John Wilson Orchestra’s appeal is that at the Proms on August 9 it will be given the rare honour of a matinee as well as the evening Prom, both devoted to music from Warner Bros Studios, including a tribute to Judy Garland, a celebration of the late Doris Day and stuff from Harry Potter and My Fair Lady

Not to be missed.

johnwilsonorchestra.com  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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