Review Round Up: The Rape of Lucretia, Royal Opera House

We take a look at what is being said about Oliver Mears’s production now playing at the Linbury Theatre.

(c)Camilla Greenwell

Broadway World: *** “Anne Marie Stanley’s Lucretia engendering a particularly haunting quality in her weighty vocal performance. Her Lucretia crumbles over the course of the opera, a descent from graceful splendour into jittery histrionics. Joylon Loy’s stormy sonorous vocal performance as Tarquinius is virile and concrete. But he carves room for just enough darkness behind the façade to suggest that the Prince of Rome is more insecure than he realises. It’s a shame that the subtleties in his character’s psychology are laid bare in a heavy-handed direction, a David Lynchian sequence consisting of dizzying lights and looming shadows.”

Evening Standard: **** “Mears has a cast of young singers at the beginning of their careers; they perform with the utmost commitment and no little finesse. The Female and Male Choruses intervene in the action more than Britten intended, but Sydney Baedke and Michael Gibson make them believable observers, wracked with pain at the story they’re telling. Jolyon Loy’s Tarquinius is a frightening embodiment of toxic masculinity, while Anne Marie Stanley tracks Lucretia’s path from wedded contentment to bloody suicide with painful empathy.”

Culture Whisper: **** “This hardhitting production shows what opera is capable of in the modern world – heartening, yes, in its creativity, but in its subject matter, powerful and thought-provoking.”

London Unattached: “Corinna Niemeyer conducted The Aurora Orchestra with discipline and precision allowing the timbral shifts of Britten’s orchestration to shine and the voices to be heard with clarity. This is an important and resonant production with a strong young ensemble cast that makes the case for the art form’s continuing relevance and vitality.”

Opera Today: “Perhaps the problem lies in the conflicts and ambiguities within the opera – between text and score – which cannot easily be resolved.  Despite this, Mears has made a good attempt, in the words of the Chorus, “with worn words and these brief notes” to try to “harness song to human tragedy”.”

The Stage: **** “Hard-hitting staging of Britten’s most disturbing opera.”

To book tickets visit: https://www.roh.org.uk/tickets-and-events/the-rape-of-lucretia-by-oliver-mears-details

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