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The plot is relatively simple. Teseo and Medea have helped King Egeo put down a revolt. Egeo decides he is in love with Agilea, and he and Medea agree to break off their betrothal as each is in love with another. Medea loves Teseo, but so does Agilea. She remains true to Teseo despite Medea's sorcerous torments and at the end of the opera Agilea and Teseo are united, Egeo accepts that he cannot marry his ward and Medea goes off in a fiery huff.
The role of Medea is such a strong one that the other singers can be in danger of being overshadowed. There was no danger of that here.
Lorina Gore, despite standing in at two days notice, gave a strong performance. Agilea is no wimp, and Gore brought out her combination of niceness and steely determination. Sometimes it is necessary to give replacement singers the benefit of the doubt; there was no need here. Gore delivered a fully formed stand out performance.
Act 1 belongs to Agilea, Medea does not appear till Act 2; Gore coped brilliantly with Agilea's taxing sequence of arias and went on to put up a spirited defiance of Medea in Act 4. As her guardian Egeo, Ragin was in fine form as an old man in love. Ragin's voice has lost none of its fine-toned sweetness and his way with Handel's vocal line was convincing enough to make you forget his unfortunate wig. Egeo is an unusual role in that Kings and guardians are usually bass voices, but presumably Egeo's love interest meant he needed to have a castrato voice.
The titular hero, Teseo, is not the strongest of roles. He does most of his derring do off stage and is required to spend most of the opera pretending that he is not Egeo's son, when he really is. But Kumar created a believably masculine creation, one who was very much in love with Agilea, and their duet was captivating.
Copyright © 1 November 2007
Robert Hugill, London UK