Partenope, English National Opera
English National Opera
When three princes woo the same powerful woman, it looks like a straightforward competition, but the arrival of a fourth changes everything
We're off to the heady, glamorous Paris of the 1920s for a production of Handel's comic opera Partenope, making a welcome return to the English National Opera at the Coliseum.
Arsace, Prince of Corinth, Armindo, Prince of Rhodes, and Emilio, Prince of Cumae are rivals for the hand of Queen Partenope, but a stranger, Eurimene is announced. And all is not as it seems: the handsome Eurimene is a woman in disguise – Rosmira – the jilted lover of Arsace. Who finds he still loves her after all. But agrees not to reveal her identity.
So far so good, but there's a duel ahead – and Arsace and Rosmira will have to fight each other ...
Partenope followed a run of more serious operas by Handel, then living in London, and it was first sung at the King's Theatre in 1730. But purists thought it lacking in gravity, and some were dismissive. What they failed to hear was a series of the most ravishing arias, and these, in the revival of this 2008 production by English National Opera, fall to a fine line-up.
In the title role is the wonderful soprano Sarah Tynan. Her lovers are sung by Patricia Bardon, singing Arsace (a role that would originally have been taken by a castrato), counter-tenor James Laing as Armindo, and tenor Robert Murray as Emilio.
The striking black and white images of the photographer and Surrealist artist Man Ray inspire the designs of Andrew Lieberman. Early music specialist Christian Curnyn conducts the orchestra and chorus of English National Opera and the director is Christopher Alden – one of twin opera directors: his brother David also has a long history working with ENO, his production of Janáček's Jenufa one of the jewels in its crown.
The opera is sung in English, and there are English surtitles.
On 20 March there is a pre-performance talk. Click here for more details.
|What||Partenope, English National Opera|
English National Opera
London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
15 Mar 2017 – 24 Mar 2017, 7:00 PM – 10:30 PM
|Price||£12 - £105|
|Website||Click here for further information and booking|