Hell Hath No Fury

My interest in Baroque music continues, there is so much to explore that I am constantly coming across new things I love.  This week I ventured into opera, with English National Opera’s current spectacular production of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Médée.  It was indeed rather long (over three hours), and the first two acts a bit too tongue-in-cheek – the couple next to me left at the first interval – some reviews found this a fault, but I think it was probably quite authentic.  But from the third act, as Medea’s rage and desire for revenge on her faithless lover builds to a horrible climax, it got more intense and emotionally powerful.  The set design was terrific – the polished floor and dramatic lighting made it look as though the cast were walking on a giant mirror.  From the cheap high-up seats I could see each character and their full-length reflection – maybe I  had a better view than the vastly more expensive seats in the stalls – at times it was hard to tell where the floor actually was, as if the cast were suspended in a glittering box, enhancing the fairy-tale atmosphere.  Checking for reviews afterwards I found these excellent  photographs from the ENO Flickr pages, which give some idea of the effect, although I do think the photographer could have explored the view from the balcony where I was sitting:

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Medea in anguish

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Spirits dance as Medea prepares the poisoned gown for Creusa

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Jason discovers the dying Creusa

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Medea disappears into the clouds as Jason clasps their murdered child

All photographs © Clive Barda

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