|Botticelli-Death of Lucretia|
HGO has outdone itself with this relatively unknown Britten piece. With just 8 singers, everyone needs to be outstanding, there is no hiding among a crowd. And indeed they are. Very good! Certainly a piece that will catch your imagination, engage your ears, and leave you wanting to hear more of the rather sublime music.
Casting the male chorus with tenor Antony Dean Griffey
(as Peter Grimes, Lenny) was a stroke of genius. Griffey,well known for his deeply felt characters, was superb. Ably matched by the female chorus soprano Leah Crocetto.
The 6 protagonists were sung and acted by Ryan McKinny, warm bass bariton=Collatinus,
Joshua Hopkins, fullvoiced bariton=Junius,
Jacques Imbrailo, bariton=Tarquinius, and
Michelle DeYoung, dramatic mezzosoprano=Lucretia.
A well matched set of voices, with the ability of expressing the pains and joys imagined by the composer.
Judith Forst, mezzosoprano=Bianca and
Lauren Snouffer, lyrical soprano=Lucia and the only high voice in the opera, completed the small cast.
For me it was gratifying to see 2 Studio alumni (McKinny and Hopkins) and 1 current member (Snouffer) shine on stage. Holding their own against the more veteran singers.
And as it is often with Britten, we come away from it with our imagination fired up, and questions. Perhaps more so with Turn of the Screw, Peter Grimes than with The Rape of Lucretia.
But one thing, to me essential to better understand and enjoy his works, is the need to revisit his operas another time, maybe even several times!