Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Audi Partenope Wien Schäfer

As Sue Loder says in her review linked below, Handel's Partenope is like London buses. You wait ages and then three come along at once. She's writing about the Vienna production directed by Pierre Audi in Vienna with Christine Schäfer, David Daniels, Florian Boesch and Les Talens lyriques, providing period instrument ambience.

".........It is this finale which cleverly encapsulates Audi’s vision of Partenope’s latently violent world: the confrontation becomes an actual boxing match set inside the villa, complete with ropes, hanging microphone, glitzy scorecard girls and the protagonists in lurid red and white towelling robes. The watching characters seem to hold their breath as Arsace makes the winning blow: his opponent must fight, like him, bare-chested (and thus betray her sex). This cruel twist breaks her spirit, and reveals all the treachery and immorality lying beneath the sham glamour of their lives. Handel’s final chorus is oddly abrupt and Audi leaves us wondering whether any of them will ever love each other again. No heroes here in Vienna, just a baroque opera for the 21st century, and none the worse for it. "

Read the whole piece here with production pix:

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