Ray Fearon and Mhairi Lawson, centre, in King Arthur by Purcell directed by Daisy Evans and Richard Egarr. Photo: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

Barbican, London

Daisy Evan’s bold new version – reflecting on national identity – was strongly performed, but the update failed to bring much needed coherence to Dryden’s vast text

Purcell’s King Arthur has long been a problematic work. It’s not quite an opera, not quite a play; the singing characters are bit parts, the story is one that only a devoted Arthurian scholar will recognise. Purcell’s music is incidental to a vast and largely forgettable text by Dryden. Most modern performances adapt both drama and words, but it takes a director as determined as Daisy Evans to offer a rewriting as bold as this: a reflection on national identity – King Arthur in the age of Brexit.


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Source: Opera News from The Guardian (UK)