Fans of modern Westminster politics will know a lot about this wonderful rendition of Handel’s opera that goes awry.
Directed by the inspirational Ashley Pearson and starring some of the finest young operatic talent, Agrippina is a baroque house of cards full of intrigue, intrigue, betrayal, spin and emotional manipulation, but Handel’s Great music is included as a bonus.
Passionate and nuanced by the HGOantiqua Orchestra with Marja Struchkova’s harpsichord and Kaman Chan’s bass.
News reaches Rome that Emperor Claudio (in the wonderful voice of Jacob Bettinelli) has died at sea. His wife Agrippina (played with icy calculation by the genius Anna-Luise Wagner) sees a chance for her son Nerone (Phoebe Reiner’s beautiful soprano) to win the crown.
She used all her available assets to create a Nerone-supporting narrative, spearheaded by former members of the blunt but aspirational Opinions, Narcisco and Palante (Dominic Mattos and Lawrence Williams, both of whom are very pleasant). Launch a social media campaign. Things go smoothly until Lesbo announces that Claudio is alive. Saved from the Water Grave by the intrepid Ottone (Lament for Poppea is a memorable standout Eliran Kadussi).
He foolishly tells Agrippina of his love for Poppea (the discreet but inspirational Lisa Dafydo) who sees an opportunity for manipulation. However, Poppea fights back and the audience ( thoughts, you torment me) witness Agrippina’s brutal mental breakdown.
The music is great, with a sprinkle of highlights. May the sound of drums and trumpets resound It reminded me of a recent rendition of Zadok the Priest.
Set design by Sorcha Corcoran uses creative IT and social media to propel this feminist allegorical narrative, psychologically complex, satirical and beautifully rendered in the hands of HGO.
HGO is a registered charity that grew out of Hampstead Garden Opera and aims to nurture talented young singers. As such, the cast will change midway through the show’s run through May 21 at Jackson’s Lane in Highgate.
https://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/23526399.hgo-perform-handels-agrippina-jacksons-lane-highgate/?ref=rss HGO Plays Handel’s Agrippina at Jackson’s Lane Highgate