Elizabeth and Essex
RODERIC DUNNETT on Phyllida Lloyd's Gloriana for BBC
Phyllida Lloyd's acclaimed production of Benjamin Britten's Gloriana,
featuring Dame Josephine Barstow, one of the world's greatest dramatic sopranos,
in full flow as the tragic love-torn queen, and conducted by Opera North's
former and ENO's current music director Paul Daniel, was one of Opera North's
supreme achievements of recent years.
It has already been revived there twice, toured the provinces and delivered
full houses at Covent Garden on its London visit. Yet half a century ago,
who would have dreamed that Britten's despised, much sneered-at offering
for Coronation year would come to be viewed as another of his supreme achievements?
At the Leeds Grand Theatre, and later in Nottingham, Manchester and Hull,
Gloriana looked magnificent and sounded fabulous. The ceremonial
- and Britten built in plenty (some would say too much) of that, was simply
And - the odd bizarre camera angle apart - that is how it should look
and sound when the BBC brings the production to the screen in the version
Lloyd herself has directed for TV.
Dame Josephine Barstow as Queen Elizabeth I. Photo: Stephen
Copyright © 23 April 2000 Roderic
Dunnett, Coventry, UK
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