Les Troyens at Covent Garden
26 June 2012, London, UK
Histrionics to perfection: Anna Caterina Antonacci as Cassandre(Photo: Bill Cooper)
Review by Francis Muzzu
The Royal Opera has undertaken the Olympian task of performing Les Troyens as part of this year's London 2012 Festival. Designer Es Devlin could do worse than transfer her stunning Trojan horse to the Olympic Closing Ceremony, which she is also designing: a flaming mesh of weaponry, it certainly has the scale and dramatic impact required. It also means that everyone else involved has to work hard to stay in the picture. The chorus certainly does, on top form throughout, and Antonio Pappano’s conducting, structured and tensile, ensures that the orchestra matches them.
Anna Caterina Antonacci’s Cassandre has the histrionics to perfection, but without quite the matching glamour of tone. Eva-Maria Westbroek enjoys more vocal refulgence, but her Didon tended to the maternal rather than regal. Bryan Hymel, unenviably substituting for Jonas Kaufmann as Enée, offers less theatricality but a voice that thrills more as it ascends. A solid supporting cast offered much to enjoy though sometimes lacked direction from David McVicar – at times the more intimate moments lost a sense of focus.
Les Troyens runs at Covent Garden until 11 July.