It was a real delight to go to St George's, Hanover Square yesterday evening to hear a concert performance of Teseo, a rarity indeed although we did it hugely successfully in Chicago back in 2012! St George's was Handel's parish church, barely 350 yards from his home on Brook Street. This was part of the London Handel Festival and I urge you to try to get there for the second and last performance tomorrow evening.
The combined forces of La nuova musica and the finest of the Royal Academy Opera's young singers, under the inspiring leadership of David Bates, provided an evening of thrilling music making by splendid young singers and David Bates's superb band. Thank you by the way to the principal oboe, Leo Duarte who played his hugely difficult star pieces flawlessly. What a pleasure to see how he inhabited this music!
The Royal Academy of Music's opera program seems to have an inexhaustible supply of talent. They have a busy life indeed having been working on the opening production of the RAM's new theatre in recent weeks. However fatigue seems to be a state foreign to them, for they came up as fresh as you could hope in this long and taxing evening.
Patrick Terry took the title role on and dispatched it with thrilling sound and scarcely a moment of uncertainty. He is a valuable new counter-tenor who has been impressing in RAO shows these last two years. Another counter-tenor Alexander Simpson sang Arcano's especially beautiful and emotional music with ravishing beauty of voice and deep commitment, and the other male character, Egeo, was taken by an impressive mezzo Frances Gregory, another refugee from the production of Flight just four weeks ago.
Leila Zanette was a scary barn storming Medea - wonderful! Meinir Wyn Roberts goes from strength to strength and was a lovely Agilea, and the French soprano Emilie Cavallo was a delightful Clizia to complete the quartet of lovers. The RAM faculty must have been hugely proud of their students - hardly students at all as they are all absolutely ready to take on the challenges of the profession.
I can not resist remembering Teseo in Chicago......we had a mezzo in the title role, and a counter-tenor Egeo. How nice to be able to mix it up! And below is a visual reminder of that lovely production.