'Jephte' and 'Dido' from English Touring Opera,
reviewed by ROBERT HUGILL
English Touring Opera's double bill of Carissimi's Jephte and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas [reviewed performance: 14 October 2006, Hackney Empire, London UK] is being given as part of the company's Autumn Baroque Opera tour; an enterprising event taking this double bill on tour along with productions of Monteverdi's Orfeo, Handel's Tolomeo and Cavalli's Erismena. The production of Tolomeo is the one already seen (with different performers) at the Royal Academy as part of this year's London Handel Festival.
Jephte (David Stout) and Filia (Jane Harrington) in English Touring Opera's production of Carissimi's 'Jepthe'. Photo © 2006 Keith Pattison
All the productions share the same basic wooden box set (designed by Michael Vale), full of doors and flexible enough to be kitted out in a variety of ways. It does have the look of something bought flat pack from Ikea, but has the advantage of giving the singers a lot of help projecting the sound.
Purcell's Dido and Aeneas is a tricky opera to programme as it is difficult finding suitable operas to go with it. Carissimi's oratorio Jephte was not an obvious choice, but in an age when Verdi's Requiem and Bach's passions can be staged, there is no reason why Jephte should not be.
Copyright © 17 October 2006
Robert Hugill, London UK