Opera: Niobe, Regina di Tebe

A three hour baroque opera on a Saturday night is probably not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I am not a fan of the baroque period of music with all those intricate melodies that go on and on and on... And then repeat... So bearing in mind these narrow-minded preconceived notions, it is somewhat surprising to find how enjoyable it is to sit through Niobe, Regina di Tebe.

There is some fine singing by Véronique Gens in the title role and male soprano Jacek Laszczkowski as the King of Thebes. And it is quite a surprise to hear him sing too. I also enjoyed the slightly comic / malevolent performance by Alastair Miles, who wore a most intriguing costume and gave the production relief and drama. Actually there was enough drama and intrigue in the opera to keep anyone alert and attentive. In the orchestra pit was the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble and they sounded great and even by Royal Opera's usual standards of production design (although Don Pasquale might be an exception) this was a pretty good looking show...

The Royal Opera's behind the scenes video includes highlight from the production. There are two more performances of it and it is worth catching. Good seats are bound to be available given those perceptions are going to be hard to shift in the space of a week... Despite the glowing reviews...

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