Lise Davidsen’s Powerful Voice Impresses in the Wexford Festival Opera’s Medea

31/10/2017

Wexford

Wexford Festival Opera 2017 [3] – Cherubini, Medea: Wexford Festival Orchestra and Chorus / Stephen Barlow (conductor), National Opera House, Wexford, 28.10.2017. (JMI)

M

Medea (c) Wexford Festival Opera

Cast:
Medea – Lise Davidsen
Jason – Sergey Romanovskiy
Neris – Raffaella Lupinacci
Glauce – Ruth Iniesta
King Creon – Adam Lau
Captain – Thomas D. Hopkinson

Production:
Director – Fiona Shaw
Sets and Costumes – Annmarie Woods
Lighting – DM Wood

My stay in Wexford came to an end with Luigi Cherubini’s Medea, done in the Italian version, which had opened this year’s Wexford Festival Opera. It was a rather confusing production overall, with a musical direction that fell below my expectations and a somewhat uneven singing.

Fiona Shaw’s new staging brings the action up to current times. In works drawn from Greek myths, temporal location is not usually important since myths are timeless. But it doesn’t work that way in the case of Medea: it is much harder today to accept the actions and reactions of the protagonist.

In Act I Glauce and her friends are in a gym celebrating her upcoming wedding to Jason. The next two acts take place in Medea’s house which has a kind of island at the back where her deceased brother, whom she killed, apparently lies. Curiously, she has three children by Jason, not the usual two, although only two die. The stage direction is generally good, especially in the strange first act in the gym.

Stephen Barlow led the orchestra with a sure hand, but his reading lacked intensity and drama and as a result was often flat. Both the orchestra and the chorus were correct.

The character of Medea does not leave the stage after she appears about halfway through Act I. It is a truly demanding part that requires a dramatic soprano with a very wide voice. The presence of Lise Davidsen in the role had raised expectations: in her short artistic career she has attracted quite a bit of attention from opera lovers. In fact, she will debut next month at the Vienna Staatsoper as the lead in Ariadne auf Naxos. She is a powerful soprano with an impressive voice who also knows how to act. Seldom does one have the opportunity to hear a voice with these characteristics. She was a convincing Medea, although I missed more vulnerability in her performance.

Jason was played by tenor Sergey Romanovskiy who did well, although his voice is a bit lighter than what is desirable in this character. Obviously, in the duets with Medea he was obscured by the power of Ms Davidsen.

Mezzo-soprano Raffaella Lupinacci as Neris made a good impression: she sings with gusto and has an attractive voice. Soprano Ruth Iniesta sang the role of Glauce, Jason’s new love, and she was also good, with an appealing voice and plenty of expressiveness. Bass Adam Lau was more modest as King Creon.

José M. Irurzun

For more about Wexford Festival Opera click here.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2019 from 30 August to 19 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Carnegie Hall 2019-2020 Season Highlights __________________________________
  • NEW! Venus Unwrapped: Kings Place’s Year-Long Focus on Women Composers __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! SOPRANO ANGELA GHEORGHIU IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Loki’s Madam Butterfly can be seen in Alton and London this September __________________________________
  • NEW! The Joys of the Marlboro Music Festival: Chamber Music’s Best-Kept Secret __________________________________
  • NEW! MATTHEW BOURNE’S ROMEO AND JULIET IN CINEMAS FROM 22 OCTOBER __________________________________
  • NEW! CELLIST JOHANNES MOSER IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • REVIEWED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • ‘MUSICAL MAGIC’: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST HENNING KRAGGERUD __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month