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:


Medea in anguish


Spirits dance as Medea prepares the poisoned gown for Creusa


Jason discovers the dying Creusa


Medea disappears into the clouds as Jason clasps their murdered child

All photographs © Clive Barda

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