Medea is a new production at the English National Opera directed by David McVicar and led by the internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly. Only her great acting skills, colourful voice and strong features can elevate the character to a new dimension. A great partnership that has delivered electrifying results such as: Alcina , and especially, La clemenza di Tito for which she won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.
If you think Tarantino is extreme, read any story about Greek Mythology. It makes him look like a schoolboy who wrote a fairy tale that went wrong. The Greeks did it better - and bloodier. Fathers devouring their sons, mothers murdering their loved sons just to avenge their ex-partner. There is no such thing as a happy ending in the ancient Greeks.
Marc-Antoine Carpentier, the most gifted composer of his generation, was never fully accepted at Louis XIV's court. There are glimpses of injustices that, perhaps, reflected Carpentier's feelings when it was premiered in 1693 in Paris. A constant array of profound disappointments and letting each other down in the search for love and power. That it is when the story becomes interesting. It pushes us to get much further than from just another tragic story. It allows us to deepen into the complex structure of human emotions. Never black and white; always grey.
Teaming up with McVicar is celebrated designer Bunny Christie, making her ENO debut. ENO's new production of Medea relocates the famous Greek tragedy to the 1940s, setting it against a decadent, hyper-stylised 1940s backdrop which McVicar describes as "styled to within an inch of its life". Set designer Bunny Christie has worked extensively for the National Theatre, most notably winning Olivier Awards for her work on A Streetcar named Desire and The White Guard and an Evening Standard Award for Baby Doll. Christie's opera work includes Brief Encounter and Tosca for Houston Grand Opera. Medea marks Christie's debut at a British opera house. The clever use of a stage in the shape of a triangle forces the audience to confront characters that can be unpleasant, but, nevertheless, exist. It also permits McVicar to play visual tricks that haunts you for the rest of the Opera.
Completing the creative team is choreographer Lynne Page and lighting designer Paule Constable. Page provides a burlesque and humorous element to the opera that adds cynicism to the storytelling experience. Page's choreographic career includes works for stage, opera, film and television with artists as diverse as Kanye West, Stephen Sondheim and Lady Gaga. In 2010, Page won a What's on Stage award for her choreography in the West End production of La Cage aux Folles. Multi-award winning lighting designer Paule Constable has worked with McVicar in productions of Der Rosenkavalier and La clemenza di Tito and won Olivier Awards in 2005, 2006 and 2009 and Tony Awards in 2007 and 2011.
Highly recommend it. Do prepare yourself for the grand finale masterly performed by Connolly. And it does not matter you already know the end. Your heart will drop.
Follow Lorenzo Belenguer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/_belenguer