<< -- 2 -- Roderic Dunnett Imperial grandeur
This (Pushkin's tale is a kind of Russian Edgar Alan Poe, sometimes
given a neat anachronistic Soviet twist in production) would make terrifying
theatre or film noir; and in its operatic engendering here -- especially
in the explosively-built finale -- emerges as a human tragedy of Lear
proportions. The RNCM does big chorus scenes well (witness their seething
Pilgrim's Progress), and its rather too Onegin-like jollities
to some extent paved the way for the starkness of Hermann's encounters
-- with Tomsky, with Liza (whom with nihilistic casualness he uses and jilts)
and with the secretive old crone.
Hubert Francis's Hermann made a rather bleaty sound, though not
one wholly inappropriate for his emotionally ring-fenced, increasingly deluded
character. As a performance, his Hermann stood up very well indeed. He can
manage high notes (although too often with an ungainly sudden surge), and
his words were nicely clear. So too were Count Tomsky's (Anthony Cleverton),
for the crucial three cards aria, mimicked by superb balalaika-like violins.
Richard Wiegold's Surin was a splendid discovery : he has since made
a similar hit as Music Theatre Wales's comic Green Knight. Roland Davitt's
Yeletsky sounded ropier, especially in duet.
Copyright © 19 April 2002
Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK
& Vision home
Prisoner of Mab >>