Review: La Voix Humaine/Dido and Aeneas, Opera North, Newcastle Theatre Royal (From The Northern Echo)
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Review: La Voix Humaine/Dido and Aeneas, Opera North, Newcastle Theatre Royal
Yorkshire soprano Lesley Garrett made a triumphant return to the operatic stage at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal when she dominated a double-bill from Opera North.
After absence of more than eight years, she took on a role that placed her firmly in spotlight in Poulenc’s emotional one-act opera La Voix Humaine; an intimate one-woman show which follows one side of a telephone conversation between two former lovers.
Garrett captured the existential angst of rejection of Elle as she is repeatedly cut off, gets crossed lines and wrong numbers, while desperately trying to retrieve her man - who wants nothing more than his letters back.
As well as singing with power and clarity of diction, Garrett pulled off a brilliant turn in acting, with gut-wrenching sobs, feverish fidgeting and palpable panic.
The boyfriend remained unseen, apart from a few tantalising glimpses through a one-way mirror, while the action was driven forward by economic orchestration, delivered with punch from the pit.
The theme of forsaken woman carried was into the second half of the evening with Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
Phillip Rhodes played Aeneas with authority while Pamela Helen Stephen conveyed Dido’s desperation with heartfelt conviction. She was well-matched with Amy Freston as Belinda.
The choreography cleverly crafted and neatly executed but could be a bit confusing at times. Purcell’s delicious score was done full justice by the orchestra under the baton of Wyn Davies, while the chorus were in full voice. Stephen’s closing lament When I am Laid in Earth was a tour de force.
Opera North presents Verdi’s Otello today (Wednesday, February 27 and Saturday); Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito tomorrow (Thursday, February 28) and La Voix Humaine/Dido and Aeneas at on Friday. All starting times are 7.30pm. Box office 08448 11 21 21.