Prom number 2 was a concert performance of Mussorgsky’s epic opera, Boris Godunov, by the Royal Opera House. As with HOT’s recent concert performance, the chorus and orchestra were onstage throughout, with the soloists entering and exiting according to the score. Since this production had already been performed fully staged at the Royal Opera House, the soloists were in costume.
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Last night there was a concert featuring a new piece by Jonathan Dove, who was in Hawaii last year for HOT’s production of his opera Siren Song. Jonathan’s new work is a wonderfully evocative song cycle for string quartet and tenor, performed by Mark Padmore, who was my roommate at King’s. He is now one of the leading English tenors in oratorio and recital repertoire, and his lyrical and authoritative performance was both impressive and deeply moving. The poetry is by the Syrian writer, Ali Safar, in a translation by Anne-Marie McManus, and Jonathan displays his extraordinary ability to set words to music, unleashing the bleak despair and real human grief of the Syrian civil war, while holding out the promise of future hope.
This was a stunning, new production, with designs by the Indian sculptor, Anish Kapoor, famous for his large-scale installations. The set was strikingly dramatic, featuring large abstract structures in the center of the stage, with fabulous lighting by Paul Anderson. ENO performs everything in English, and the translation by Andrew Porter was clear and simple – the supertitles were almost superfluous. The principal roles are exceptionally demanding, and Stuart Skelton (Tristan) and Heidi Melton (Isolde) did sterling work, with the Act 2 duet a highlight. There was excellent support from Scottish Mezzo-soprano, Karen Cargill as Brangane, and Craig Colclough as Kurwenal, and the orchestra was beautifully conducted by Edward Gardner, with fine pacing and structure, which is essential for this gargantuan work.
HOT’s Education Team led an energetic group of keiki this past June through an intensive Opera Residency program! The Students were guided in all aspects of creating an opera, from costuming, set design, staging, & performing Aida for a live audience! Learn more about all of our HOT Education programs online today.
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