Joanna Lumley narrates Alcina at St John’s Smith Square, pictured her with soprano Rebbecca Bottone
(Photo: Nick Rutter)
Thanks to Ivan Hewett who gave our sold-out performance of Handel Alcina a 4**** review in the Telegraph:
“Regular readers of my reviews may have noticed a degree of impatience in the matter of baroque opera. I apologise, but all its convoluted plots inhabited by psychologically implausible characters, all its adherence to a rigid code of hierarchy and formality, all its sheer prolixity, are deadening weights on the beauties of the music and can make a performance seem a long tedious grind rather than a delicious sensual pleasure.
So I was well disposed towards conductor David Bates’s decision to present a semi-staging of Handel’s Alcina that eliminated one pointless subsidiary character and replaced the harpsichord-accompanied recitative that drives the narrative forward with a spoken narration, written by June Chichester and declaimed with elegance, wit and panache by no less a personage than Joanna Lumley.
The success of this experiment was instant. Only the most pedantic of purists could object…..”