Sunday, 23 June 2013

Gloriana Royal Opera House Britten's Mock Tudor

Claire Seymour's review of Britten Gloriana at the Royal Opera House is HERE in Opera Today. She wrote the book on Britten's operas - literally. "The Operas of Benjamin Britten :  Expression and Evasion is an authoritative reference work anyone interested in Britten needs to know. So what she says about the opera, and about Richard Jones's production, is worth reading.

"Initially we are confronted with the simple exterior of a theatre. A dignitary paces impatiently beneath the royal crest and flag which adorns the façade, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the royal party; Queen and consort enter, slightly bemused by the cultural offering bestowed in their honour. The ‘fourth wall’ is lifted to reveal an unsophisticated platform; prompter, janitor, curtain hoister and bell-ringer loiter with anticipation in the wings. The orchestral prologue commences, visually illustrated by a perfectly choreographed reverse parade through British monarchical history - faultlessly in keeping with current Conservative-party educational policy - until we arrive at the first age of Elizabethan magnificence and mal-contentment. In a brisk sweep - reminiscent of the gallery of ancestral portraits illuminated by the Prologue to Owen Wingrave - Richard Jones makes a virtue of the opera’s potential cause for irritation - its whimsicality and twee ‘Merrie England-ishness’. "

"Henceforth, all sentimental, mawkish, am-dram naff-ness is viewed through a knowingly ironic filter - which, in fact, perfectly complements the parodies and self-parodies of Britten’s score."

Britten's Mock Tudor carries a punch ! read the whole piece here. 

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