Snape Maltings ist eine bedeutende Kulturstätte in Suffolk, England, in der Nähe der kleinen Orte Snape und Aldeburgh gelegen. Bereits vor 2000 errichteten die Römer erste Siedlungen in Snape und bauten Salzfertigungen. Snape und Aldeburgh erreichten durch auffällige kulturelle Aktivitäten überregionale Bedeutung. Benjamin Britten (*1913 – 1976) gründete dort 1948 das jährlich stattfindende international geschätzte Aldeburgh Festival und errichtete in der Folge Konzerthaus (Foto). Eine übergroße ins Meeresufer vor Snape errichtete Muschel erinnert auffällig an Benjamin Britten, den großen Sohn der Region Snape und Aldeburgh. Hier eine weitere IOCO Rezeption aus Snape Maltings, link: Dardanus von Jean-Philippe Rameau
IOCO – Korrespondentin Janet Banks besuchte die Macbeth Produktion der English Touring Opera (see video) in der Concert Hall von Snape Maltings: Privat betriebene Touring Opera Companies sind erneut eine britische Besonderheit: im deutschen Sprachraum nahezu unbekannt, in England jedoch häufig anzutreffen.
Macbeth – Giuseppe Verdi
Produziert von – English Touring Opera
by Janet Banks
English Touring Opera was about halfway through touring the UK with three early works by great operatic composers, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Rossini’s Elizabeth I and Verdi’s Macbeth, when I witnessed this gripping production at Snape Maltings, home of the Aldeburgh Festival.
Tristan und Verdi’s Macbeth | Production Trailer
Youtube Trailer English Touring Opera
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James Dacre’s production was dramatically engrossing, hitting home time and again, largely thanks to excellent performances by the two lead singers, Madeleine Pierard as Lady Macbeth and Grant Doyle as Macbeth. Pierard had a strong stage presence and powerful body language – everything seemed more intense when she was on stage – and her full-throated soprano was more than a match for Giuseppe Verdi’s vocal acrobatics in Act I Scene 2. Her restless writhings before her suicide in the final act made a powerful contrast to her aggressive confidence in the party which closes Act 2.
The scenes between Pierard and Doyle as Macbeth were particularly intense. Doyle brought a lurking sense of foreboding into his voice from early in the opera and his Act 4 Scene 3 final aria showed impressive dramatic range. Sung in English in a good translation by Andrew Porter, any words which were not audible (and they were very few) were still not lost, thanks to TV screens either side of the stage which relayed the libretto, plus the setting for each act.
Designer Frankie Bradshaw’s constumes set the production in the present day: Macbeth politician-like in suit and tie, Lady Macbeth either in silky night attire or a short, smart party dress, the rest of the male characters in military uniform or fatigues. Staging was bare but effective – a chaise longue doubling as a throne, concrete bunker-type walls for the castle, and a nice modern touch when Banquo’s assassins climb up to unplug a security camera before his murder. It’s always a challenge to know what to do with the witches, especially with their far from haunting music. However the green-clad nursing nuns (see foto above) with their Florence Nightingale-like lamps and choreographed movements failed to spook me.
Andrew Slater was a deep-toned and noble Banquo and Amar Muchhala a moving Macduff in his beautiful lyric tenor aria lamenting his failure to protect his wife and children. There was much well-disciplined singing from the chorus, particularly in their a cappella chorale after Duncan’s murder.
—| IOCO Kritik Snape Maltings Aldeburgh Festival |—
Aldeburgh / Snape Maltings – A Place of Energy and Inspiration
Aldeburgh in Suffolk, UK, is known worldwide for its arts festival devoted mainly to classical music. The festival was founded in 1948 by Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Eric Crozier. To allow a large venue for the festival, Benjamin Britten, 1913 – 1976, who had lived in Snape, a village, just outside of Aldeburgh, converted a large former malthouse (see foto above) into a concert hall. Most of the malting’s original character, such as the square malthouse roof-vents, was retained. This very special ex-malting Concert Hall was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1967.
Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings have since become a place of energy and inspiration – one of the world’s leading centres of music and a visitor destination of outstanding natural beauty: Located by the sea, 106 miles northeast of London. IOCO visited Aldeburgh and Snape, also for an opera performance there.
Dardanus by Jean-Philippe Rameau
BY Janet Banks
When Jean-Philippe Rameau reworked his tragedie lyrique Dardanus he dispensed with the gods altogether and did away with spectacle. The resulting 1744 version, though a lot less exciting visually than its original, admirably suits the needs of a travelling company such as English Touring Opera, who appeared at the concert hall founded by Benjamin Britten from a 19th-century maltings to be the home of his Aldeburgh Festival.
Director Douglas Rintoul sets the opera in a modern-day war zone, with soldiers, including Dardanus and his rival Antenor, in camouflage and the chorus dressed as if they are living on the streets. When the chorus is pressing the king to kill the captive Dardanus, one of them pulls out a can and sprays ‘MORT’ on the back wall. There has obviously been a conscious decision not to include dance in the production, in spite of interludes which would seem to call for it, and the only colour comes from multi-coloured marbled lighting effects representing the magic of the sorcerer Ismenor, and the red flares of off-stage fighting.
The positive effect of the sparse staging and muted lighting is to throw into greater relief the beauty of Rameau’s music. Anthony Gregory sings the title role of Jupiter’s son Dardanus with a voice capable of moving the listener with very credible emotion, from his ecstasy in love in Act 2, to his despair imprisoned in a cell at the opening of Act 4.The object of his desire, Iphise, the daughter of his enemy, is sung by Galina Averina with a light and flexible soprano, suited to music of the period but nonetheless capable of real richness on the high notes. Frederick Long is authoritative as the sorcerer Ismenor, whose spells bring about a happy outcome, while Timothy Nelson as Iphise’s rejected fiancé, excels in his expressive middle range. Eleanor Penfold steps from the chorus to sing an exquisite aria calling for peace at the end of Act 3, a still point in the action and one of the evening’s most beautiful moments.
The period instrument players of the Old Street Band under the direction of Jonathan Williams play Rameau’s score with crispness and precision.
—| IOCO Kritik Snape Maltings Aldeburgh Festival |—