<< -- 4 -- David Thompson A PIONEERING ENTERPRISE
The classical splendour of St John's Smith Square was an ideal arena for the required noble
setting, and the production was witty, slick and involving, in its occasional use of the whole
auditorium. Energetic comic business was set alongside classic pose to delightful effect.
St John's also provided excellent acoustics. The small period band of fourteen accomplished
players never sounded undernourished, and the playing was alert, lively and accomplished. A
few misfired notes from the natural horns could be readily forgiven when Cimarosa asks so much
of them for so long.
David Owen Norris, directing from the harpsichord gave a fine and truly classical account
of the score. The music itself? Charming, disarming, and, especially in Laura's arias, where
we were reminded that Cimarosa was considered as a master of opera seria also, often
rather more than that. It was good music, and, for all of the opera's quite considerable
length, never dull and always involving. Mozart it was not (how could it be?) but it
spoke very much the same language, if with more simplicity. Above all, it gave me a great
deal of pleasure, and an eagerness to hear more of these ambitious and rewarding offerings
that Jeremy Gray and his Bampton team unfailingly and generously continue to provide for us.
Andrew Kennedy as Franchetto
A final rallying call to all music lovers. A good house enjoyed The Two Barons,
but there was plenty of room for more. An enterprise offering so much enjoyment and musical
revelation deserves the support of all of us. Let's get behind Bampton and similar pioneering
enterprises and not only keep them alive, but thriving, as well as enjoying and learning from
the considerable riches they offer us.