Kosky has a good ear for music – surprising how many directors seem not to have – as his current, all-singing, all-dancing Carmen at the Royal Opera House demonstrates. His Saul is an explosion of song, movement and visual effects, a rumbustious old master oil painting come to life. Like David McVicar with his Bollywood Giulio Cesare a few years before (and revived this year), Kosky makes the brio and bravura bounce of Handel's vivacious score three-dimensional.
No need to get bogged down in the Old Testament background to this opera: it's enough to know that it concerns the older king Saul's handover to his heir David, which is curdled by his envy of the younger man. The opera, written in London by the German-born composer, was first performed in 1739 at the King's Theatre, on the site of today's Her Majesty's, home, appropriately enough, of Phantom of the Opera.
The starry Glyndebourne cast is led by the German baritone Markus Brück as Saul, highly acclaimed British tenor Allan Cllayton as Jonathan and the toast of Broadway for his appearance with Mark Rylance in Farinelli and the King, counter-tenor Iestyn Davies as David. And look out for the organist James McVinnie's Mighty Wurlitzer turn at the keyboard as he spins up through the floor.
With the Carmen team of designer Katrin Lea Tag and choreographer Otto Pichler also pulling out all the stops, and Laurence Cummings conducting the scintillating Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment as well as multi-talented Glyndebourne Chorus, my 2015 Opera of the Year is one of this summer's must-sees.
Saul is sung in English with English surtitles. Booking opens at 6pm on Sunday 4 March. Saul is broadcast free online and in cinemas on a date to be announced: click here for details.
|What||Handel's Saul, Glyndebourne Festival Opera|
|Where||Glyndebourne, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5UU | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Victoria (underground)|
19 Jul 18 – 05 Aug 18, times vary; 13 performances with long dinner interval
|Price||£15 - £260|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|