<< -- 4 -- Robert Hugill HAUNTINGLY BEAUTIFUL
The comedy in the staging of Pyramus and Thisbe was overdone by reliance on visual comedy; there were few moments when the production seem to be in tune with the music Britten's Italian opera parodies. This is not to deny that the staging was not enjoyed by the audience, the majority found the staging highly entertaining but I felt that by concentrating on visual comedy the producer had deprived the audience of some of the subtlety and sophistication of Britten's opera.
The ENO orchestra under Paul Daniel gave a performance of startling clarity; there were times when you felt that you could hear every single orchestral line clearly. But from the opening, mysterious, string glissandi, the orchestra seemed to miss the haunting atmospherics of Britten's score. This was a performance which seemed to lack mystery and atmosphere.
Emil Wolk as Puck and Robin Blaze as Oberon. Photo © 2004 Bill Cooper
I am aware that it is nearly ten years since ENO first performed this production and more years still since Carsen produced it in Aix. But Carsen's name is still on the programme as is the name of his assistant, so surely ENO could have given us a performance that was visually tighter. But musically, this was of a high order and in the Oberon of Robin Blaze we had a hauntingly beautiful performance.