Monteverdi L’Orfeo 2007 directed by Jonathan Miller
An extensive tour of highly acclaimed performances to mark the 400th anniversary of the 1st performance of L'Orfeo
The Lighthouse Poole * Colston Hall Bristol * The Dome Brighton * Town Hall Birmingham * International Music Festival Newbury * Queen Elizabeth Hall London * Bridgewater Hall Manchester * The Sage Gateshead * City Halls Glasgow * De Doelen Rotterdam * Royal Palace Aranjuez * Baluarte Auditorium Pamplona * Cité de la Musique Paris * Philharmonie Luxembourg * International Music Festival Bergen * Philharmonic Hall Warsaw * Israel Festival Jerusalem * International Music Festival Beijing * Cervantino Festival Guanajuato * Palacio de Bellas Artes Mexico City
NEW LONDON CONSORT
Jonathan Miller director
Mark Tucker Orfeo
Reviews from the tour [excerpts]
There was one performance only at the Queen Elizabeth Hall of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, given by the New London Consort under Philip Pickett, and staged minimalistically by Jonathan Miller. It was tremendous. What was so marvellous about the New London Consort’s account was its directness and its intensity. Orfeo wailed, wept, sobbed, as well as singing his lines with the utmost expressiveness. And he, like all the performers, was given plenty of time by Pickett to fill the text and the vocal line with meaning. An experience both beautiful and sublime.
From the moment in the Prologue when Joanne Lunn got the whole fable underway with La Musica's aria about the power of her art, the meshing of the score and the drama was perfectly achieved. Every member of the cast seemed totally at ease, so that this recreation of the most important event in the history of opera seemed the most natural thing in the world.
There was something very special in this performance of Monteverdi's opera L'Orfeo. This was one of the most exquisitely staged performances of the opera imaginable. In a beautifully sensitive and unforced production by Jonathan Miller, the opera was costumed in cool contemporary greys and blacks and staged with a miraculous economy of choreography that captured every nuance of movement, dance and theatre in the opera without remotely cluttering the stage. The sheer ravishing beauty of the music was projected effortlessly by conductor Philip Pickett and his great period band, the New London Consort, ranged around a fluid and endlessly expressive team of singers. Whatever has happened since in opera, Monteverdi did the lot, expressively and dramatically, centuries earlier. Wonderful.
The Glasgow Herald
In this performance by Philip Pickett and the New London Consort one could enjoy Monteverdi’s masterpiece in its purest form, with fifteen excellent instrumentalists arrayed on both sides of the stage. Mark Tucker, a beautiful and expressive singer, turned Orfeo into a man of flesh and blood; Julia Gooding’s tidings of woe after Euridice’s death made for a moving moment. And the oppressive scenes on the bank of the Styx and in the underworld, where the striking bass Michael George reigned as Plutone, were masterfully executed, both scenically and musically.
The mutual understanding between the musicians was astonishing, and for most of the concert Pickett could afford just a few friendly nods thanks to the incredible continuo group. The ensembles were light, fluent and rhetorical. Pickett knows everything and more about L'Orfeo. His collaborator, the legendary stage-director Jonathan Miller, is an erudite of the old school, and every discreet gesture had a symbolic meaning. The consistency of the production, together with Pickett's thorough analysis of the musical material, was amazing. These are values too-rarely achieved in our under-educated and under-funded artistic world.
Ruch Muzyczny (Warsaw)