Genesis Baroque: Acis and Galatea

Brimming with melodious arias and choruses, Handel’s Acis and Galatea is an interesting pastoral opera, and there was a lot to thrill each musically and visually within the manufacturing mounted by Genesis Baroque. The principal singers gave musically and dramatically sturdy performances, the Consort of Melbourne sang with harmonious dedication, collectively and in secondary roles, and, true to kind, the knowledgeable band of gamers comprising Genesis Baroque gave a cultured and spirited account of Handel’s rating.

One of many biggest challenges of opera seria is sustaining curiosity all through da capo arias with what can appear to be infinite repetitions. Definitely, ornamentation of the vocal and instrumental strains satisfies the musical dimension, however the director has to keep away from the motion turning into too static. Some productions have gone to uncommon lengths to keep away from that – Kanen Breen’s extraordinary acrobatic yoga poses in Opera Australia’s manufacturing of Handel’s Partenope springs instantly to thoughts. Below Robert Macfarlane’s path too, there was no probability of an viewers dropping curiosity. Though this system included the libretto, I doubt there have been many viewers members who truly adopted it; they might have been too afraid of lacking out on any of the motion.

In an opera the place transformation is central to the plot, Macfarlane wrought his personal fantastically creative theatrical transformations. The opera’s unique English libretto by John Homosexual is predicated on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which turned the main target of a lot of the motion. The refrain turned college youngsters obliged to learn the work, with Macfarlane, who sang the position of Acis, essentially the most reluctant scholar of all of them. They had been positioned in a “classroom” at one facet of the area, seated in two rows close to a blackboard and a small academics desk. The setup was easy however efficient. A few of the essential motion happened centre stage in entrance of the chamber ensemble, a display screen of vines and a bench the one furnishings.

The modern setting got here with a spread of concepts associated to the issues of at the moment’s youth. An allusion to the coed strike protesting in opposition to local weather change, the numerous makes use of of cell phones, predatory bullies lurking round colleges, clothes decisions and relationships had been all included. At numerous factors the phrases of libretto themselves got fully sudden meanings. The entire manufacturing was teeming with concepts and ingenious particulars of interpretation. Any moments when disbelief couldn’t simply be suspended had been a bit of irrelevant given the weird nature of Greek fantasy, the place Acis is killed with a rock by the jealous monster Polyphemus and was a stream. No matter creaking seams there may need been on this operatic transformation, it was splendidly entertaining and the music itself was extraordinarily nicely executed.

Macfarlane possesses a most engaging tenor voice – well-projected and vibrant. His singing was notably stunning within the well-known Half 2 Air “Love sound th’alarm” and following Trio, the place his voice blended pleasingly with Karen Fitz-Gibbon’s clear soprano whereas Polyphemus raged. Because the monster, bass-baritone Nicholas Dinopoulos was terrific – in each senses. Prowling across the viewers cigarette in hand, leering at sure members, or leaning nonchalantly in opposition to a wall – too cool for college in his Misfits t-shirt – he reduce a menacing determine. Polyphemus has essentially the most acquainted quantity within the opera: “O ruddier than the cherry” and Dinopoulos made essentially the most of it. Even within the previous recitative, “I rage – I soften – I burn” he was monstrously dramatic. As much as that time the viewers had not clapped in any respect, however such a formidable show of bass vitality, particularly within the extra florid sections, had listeners too excited to fret about interrupting the stream.

As Galatea, Karen Fitz-Gibbon was a continuing pleasure to listen to, safe vocal approach making certain a manufacturing that was relaxed, even and versatile. Her ornamentation and excessive notes in her opening Air, “Hush, ye fairly warbling choir!” was excellent, complementing the full of life, tuneful recorders featured on this piece. A youthful timbre and uncommonly gleaming lustre to her higher register suited the position, as did her animated appearing.

The opening Refrain “Oh, the pleasures of the plains!” was an instance of what was to observe – buoyant singing with neatly articulated florid passages, a mere eight voices usually offering a satisfyingly full sound the place components had been simply distinguishable. Amelia Jones was a glowing Faculty Captain however appeared much less comfy as Coridon when the carpet and viewers absorbed a number of the resonance of her high-quality voice. Leighton Triplow sang the position of Damon with growing power and conviction, accompanied by solely a small variety of gamers.

75 Reid St has a lot to suggest it as a efficiency venue; it’s welcoming, comparatively spacious and with its stunning wood ceiling has a full of life acoustic, nevertheless it does entail compromises. Though seated behind the singers, the truth that Genesis Baroque gamers had been on a raised wood flooring meant that the strings sometimes tended to overpower the singers in Half 1.

This manufacturing of Acis and Galatea is a big credit score to Genesis Baroque’s Creative Director Jennifer Kirsner, Director Robert Macfarlane and their proficient band of gamers and singers. Extremely really useful.

Picture equipped.


Heather Leviston reviewed Handel’s “Acis and Galatea”, carried out by Genesis Baroque at 75 Reid St on July 14, 2022.