Sarah Connolly Triumphs as Medea
Congratulations to Sarah Connolly who has triumphed in the title role of Charpentier’s Médée in David McVicar’s new production of the opera at the English National Opera. The French Baroque looms large in Connolly’s diary at present – she had a great success as Phedre in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie at the Paris Opera last season and Phedre will also be her next operatic assignment, at the Glyndebourne Festival this summer in a new production by Jonathan Kent – and it was Connolly’s idea to bring Charpentier’s masterpiece to the London stage.
It has proved to be a terrific success, perhaps the most significant of her career to date, and the critics have been falling over themselves with praise for the beauty and intensity of her performance. Richard Morrison writing in The Times, admired ‘the towering central performance of Sarah Connolly. Singing with coruscating power, acting with white-hot intensity, she makes Medea’s journey from mother to monster, via jealousy and humiliation, nightmarishly plausible’ and Tim Ashley, in the Guardian, wrote ‘Connolly, at the peak of her powers, has done nothing finer: she takes us with her every step of the way on a terrifying emotional journey’. Rupert Christiansen, in The Telegraph, was no less effusive writing that ‘Sarah Connolly carries all before her in the title-role: here is an artist majestically in her prime, singing with total technical assurance and radiating baneful charisma’ while Andrew Clark, in the Financial Times, judged that ‘there is no mezzo-soprano today better equipped to impersonate his monster-mother from Greek mythology. Connolly’s refined timbre and sure musical instincts are the ideal medium for Charpentier’s highly charged but chaste idiom. Thanks to her skill at harmonising the human qualities of the part in the first two acts with its heinous qualities in the last two, Connolly enjoys a deserved triumph’. Brindley Sherratt, singing the role of Créon, was also singled out for praise with Richard Morrison judging his performance ‘superb’ and Andrew Clark finding him ‘outstanding’. Don’t miss the hottest show in London !
Performances continue at the English National Opera until 16 March.