Stark Medea From Juventus Lyrica


 Cherubini, Medea: Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Juventus Lyrica, Hernán Schvartzman (conductor), Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires. 18.7.2014. (JSJ)

Sabrina Cirera as Medea for Juventus Lyrica. Photo Liliana Morsia.

Sabrina Cirera as Medea for Juventus Lyrica. Photo Liliana Morsia.

Medea: Sabrina Cirera / Mariana Carnovali
Jason: Darío Schmunck / Nazareth Aufe
Creón: Alejandro Meerapfel
Nerís: Eugenia Fuente / Verónica Canaves
Dircé: Laura Pisani
First lady: Laura Delogu
Second lady: Verónica Canaves / Laura Álvarez Renedo


Director/costumes: María Jaunarena
Sets/lighting: Gonzalo Córdova
Chorus: Hernán Sánchez Arteaga

Brahms described Cherubini’s Medea – or more strictly in this case Médée (the former generally referring to the Italian version, the latter the French) – as “the highest peak of dramatic music,” but despite this, and its revival during the second half of the 20th century, the work remains little performed or known.

It was therefore a welcome but bold work for Juventus Lyrica to undertake – but with a carefully selected cast, energetic young conductor and inspired production, it has put another feather in the cap of an increasingly accoladed company.

Cherubini’s Medea (one of several on the legend of Jason and the Argonauts) is set in the period following the stealing of the Golden Fleece, and Jason has abandoned Medea and is planning to wed Dircé, the daughter of Creón. Medea, failing to win back Jason, is enraged and swears vengeance, and ordered by Creón to leave Corinth, she sends poisoned wedding gifts to Dircé and kills her two children that she had with Jason.

Director María Jaunarena offers a simple but effective view, opening with a sensitively portrayed Dircé bathing in a tub as her attendants assist – and a stark contrast with the final horror of the two children hanging dead.

This was similarly reflected in the harsh and gloomy almost uniformly grey-black setting, without time or place, and in the dress, setting the atmosphere for the unfolding tragedy.

The strong cast was led by a dramatic Sabrina Cirera as Medea and the finely sung Jason of Darío Schmunck. Laura Pisani was a clear and contrasting Dircé and Eugenia Fuente a well phrased Neris, while Alejandro Meerapfel provided a solid Creón. The one downside was the spoken texts here in the original French version that was presented, that tended to sound mumbled.

Conductor Hernán Schvartzman from the Royal Conservatory of the Hague has become a regular collaborator with Juventus Lyrica and includes period instruments in the orchestra, giving an unusual perspective on this music, which was enthusiastically played with but some minor imbalances. The chorus under the direction of Hernán Sánchez Arteaga also gave of their best.

Jonathan Spencer Jones




Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra at St John’s Smith Square’s 2017 Christmas Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere of The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu in December at Milton Court __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • UPDATED! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • NEW! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • NEW! JUSTIN DOYLE DISCUSSES MONTEVERDI WITH MARK BERRY __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H