November 28, 2020
Assorted online platforms/Radio 3Handel’s Ariodante makes a captivating return to Covent Garden, while necessity is the mother of invention from Gateshead to uprooted Bath and Huddersfield
The week in classical: Ariodante; Royal Northern Sinfonia; BCMG; HCMF; Bath Mozart festival – review
Elation at the miracles star musicians can achieve in an empty theatre; regret at not being there in person – both reactions made watching the Royal Opera’s Ariodante live online a vital and bittersweet experience. Handel wrote the opera for Covent Garden theatre’s 1735 season. Nearly three centuries on, this was its first performance at the Royal Opera House, which stands on the same site.
An outstanding cast was led by the Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy, exceptional, generous and expressive as the wandering knight of the title, with Iestyn Davies fierce and agile as his rival, Polinesso; Sophie Bevan as the distressed, affecting Dalinda; and Gerald Finley, eloquent as the King of Scotland in all his folly and wisdom. Chen Reiss conveyed power as well as fragility as Ginevra; Ed Lyon returned to the role of Lurcanio, which he sang memorably for Scottish Opera in 2016; and Thando Mjandana had real presence in the supporting role of Odoardo.
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