By: George Hall for the Guardian (UK)
In its original 1724 form, Handel’s opera dealt with complex political and amorous machinations among a seventh-century ruling Lombard elite. Richard Jones’s 2014 production moves the action to fascist Italy, where the sense of a lawless dictatorship and the constant threat of violence seem equally apposite.
Jeremy Herbert’s split-stage set means that on one side we see Rodelinda – widow of the supposedly dead king Bertarido – imprisoned with her son Flavio in a grungy dungeon, while on the other, the vile Grimoaldo and his even wickeder ally Garibaldo plot their next move in attempting to persuade Rodelinda to marry her consort’s usurper.
Source: Opera News from the UK Guardian