I greatly enjoyed John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary when the LA Philharmonic brought it to the Barbican a year or two back - a riveting score showing the span of the development of Adams since that memorable night in Houston, Texas in October 1987 when I was present at the premiere of Nixon in China. So I was really happy to go to the Coliseum on Tuesday evening for ENO's production, a full staging of what is actually a dramatic oratorio perhaps but not an opera. The inventive genius of Peter Sellars has produced a show which many have embraced with passionate enthusiasm and others with regret that it smothers the impact of the music.
Be that as it may, there was a huge passionate totally enthusiastic audience on Tuesday evening, and the musical impact of the work was ensured by the work of the remarkable Joana Carneiro - one of the most gifted of emerging conductors, Portuguese by the way not American as erroneously described by the Times.
Mary Magdalene and Martha were recast with Patricia Bardon and Meredith Arwady respectively, and Russell Thomas repeated his sterling performance of Lazarus which had made such an impact in Los Angeles. It was indeed a fine night for singing.
I was of course particularly delighted that my two graduates from Chicago Opera Theater, Joana and Meredith had such success!!
Last night I was at the Royal College of Music for their production of Die Zauberflöte. The beautiful Britten Theatre poses some problems for as large an orchestra as was playing last night - a characteristic that I had not noticed before. Getting the volume to below fff is a challenge! Never mind, there were some really promising singers on display, notably the Tamino of Nick Pritchard, the Sprecher of Nicholas Morton, as well as an accomplished and true young bass Sarasto from Matthew Buswell, always a difficult part to cast in a graduate student production of the Flute. And the three "boys" were splendidly taken by Louise Fuller, Katie Coventry, and Polly Leech, plausible all and a fine little ensemble, hidden gems all three I suspect!
This evening there is the wicked pleasure of Pelléas et Mélisande - the Philharmonia with a fine French cast (one exception being Felicity Palmer as Geneviève) conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. So I have an evening of wallowing in that, a work precious to me as the opening new production of my first year of work - at Glyndebourne in 1962.