Britten: The Rape of Lucretia (English National Opera/Aldeburgh)
Sarah Connolly (Lucretia); Christopher Maltman (Tarquinius); Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Bianca); Mary Nelson (Lucia); Leigh Melrose (Junius); Clive Bayley (Collatinus); Orla Boylan (Female Chorus); John Mark Ainsley (Male Chorus); Paul Daniel (Conductor); David McVicar (Director);
Sarah Connolly's 'outstanding' (The Guardian) portrayal of the wronged Roman noblewoman, written originally for Kathleen Ferrier, lies at the heart of David McVicar's powerfully stark production for English National Opera as 'an everyday sort of woman who could be living at any time or place.' Her nemesis is the arrogant Tarquinius of Christopher Maltman, 'who made the air tingle with danger' (Financial Times).
Filmed by the BBC at Snape Maltings during the production’s premiere run at the 2001 Aldeburgh Festival.
"... the cast is so superb and Paul Daniel's conducting so sure-footed. Every element in Britten's score needs to glow with beauty. The 13 ENO instrumentalists deliver gloriously. Christopher Maltman's ferocious, magnetic Tarquinius distils all the charisma and youthful sexuality that the music describes. Sarah Connolly's Lucretia is powerful and robust yet strangely sexless, almost boyish. The opera is a feast of musical moments. The simplicity and directness of McVicar's staging ensures that every detail in text and vocal lines gets attention, and McVicar uses the Coliseum's wide stage space brilliantly." (The Evening Standard)
"Christopher Maltman, a memorable Billy Budd for the Welsh National Opera, had ideal cat-like virility in voice and physique as Tarquinius, with Sarah Connolly an impassioned, robust Lucretia. Paul Daniel, conducting, and the excellent 13-strong chamber ensemble savoured every nuance and texture of the score, from sour, nervy harp refrain to plangent cor anglais and alto flute lament." (The Observer)
"... excellent at every level and provides a forceful reminder that, despite the schoolgirl gush in Ronald Duncan's overly "poetic" libretto, the piece stands as one of Britten's most musically cogent and dramatically subtle achievements. Sarah Connolly's Lucretia, sung with great intelligence and beauty of line ... Christopher Maltman's crisply focused baritone and taut physique radiate all the mindless macho potency that fuels Tarquinius. Paul Daniel's impassioned conducting was alive to all the nervy intensity of the amazing score. Did Britten ever again use the orchestra with such inventiveness?" (The Daily Telegraph)