Scottish Semiramide A Success?
by Christie Connolley
Everything is better will alliteration! Including Scottish company, Vlaamse Opera’s production of Rossini’s Semiramide. Check out the Operagasm Review Rundown of Kate Mollesen’s review of production for The Guardian.
Middle Eastern war locale for 800 Alex: “Director Nigel Lowery chose modern Iraq as his setting, but the backdrop images of rubble and gilded swimming pools might have been Libya last week. Based on Voltaire’s account of the Queen of Babylon in 800BC, Semiramide is as dark as Rossini opera gets, its superficial cheerfulness as sinister a fallacy as a bling chandelier still lit above a bombed-out ballroom.”
That opera is only four and half hours long? It seemed longer…: “Lowery started his career as a set designer and it shows: he used the singers as props for visual tableaux, rather than as dramatic characters. Despite the novelty concept, his direction was unimaginative, shifting the chorus in clumsy blocks and plonking the soloists front-of-stage to deliver their arias. The green flashy lights, Halloween ghosts and hapless doppelgangers were plain naff. And it all moved mind-numbingly slowly, as if to underline the fact that the opera is already four and a half hours long.”
My Big Fat Greek Review Quote that will now be in my bio!: “Still, there was some wonderful singing, particularly from Greek soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu as the beautiful, guilt-consumed Semiramide….. it was Papatanasiu’s bare vocal pathos that made this queen so moving.”