Friday, 26 March 2010

An engagingly staged Satyagraha at the ENO

Philip Glass's music is not everyone's cup of tea. So it was a surprise to see a nearly full Coliseum at the last performance of Satyagraha. Although the music was hypnotic and had dramatic moments, it really needed careful and creative staging to bring it to life - which the ENO delivered engagingly. The semi-circular stage with removable panels provided the backdrop for all the action. The papier-marché and rattan giants, the crushing newspaper "printer", stick-tape "red tape" and other devices really made the visual side of the opera dramatic and intriguing.

As for the music, the orchestra deserved praise for "counting like crazy". Stuart Stratford ensured the tempo was clear and he did give all the singers very clear leads - so they could focus on the singing rather than the counting. The singers were generally good, though there were intonation problems with their descending arpeggios.
Now will the ENO bring back Akhenaten?