Hailed by Edward Seckerson in the Independent as ‘A thrilling company achievement. World class’, the reviews have been ecstatic for all three artists.
Matthew Rose made a terrifying Claggart in what was a stunning role debut, and he was for Rupert Christiansen ‘the star of the show: a granitic monster of a Claggart, vocalised with chilling authority” (The Telegraph). For Fiona Maddocks in The Observer, “The most provocative interpretation was that of Claggart, the corrupt master-of-arms, played by Matthew Rose, winner of the 2012 Critics’ Circle exceptional young talent award. Delivering his vocal lines with unsnarling warmth of tone, he added complexity to the role, pacing back and forth in obsessive straight lines and suggesting a terrible, bottled-up hatred. For the first time you could believe that Claggart himself once possessed a similar, Billy-type “handsome sailor” beauty before life, in some unspoken way, betrayed him… Rose’s Claggart alone is worth the ticket.”
Duncan Rock (an ENO Harewood Young Artist), doubtless a great Billy Budd in the making, impressed in the role of Donald. Indeed, he was singled out for praise by Stephen Jay-Taylor in Opera Brittania, as “bluff, rich voiced, even and fully rounded, person handsome, imposing and strikingly charismatic, the exact sort of insouciantly alluring character to whom the other sailors and Vere himself would all fall willing victim.”
The critics are unanimous in their praise of a musically outstanding performance under conductor and Music Director Edward Gardner, who “ inspires his fantastic chorus and orchestra to great heights, the surge and swell of Britten’s score as surely caught as its queasy undertow.” (Edward Seckerson, The Independent). There is high praise from Fiona Maddocks in The Observer too: “In the authoritative hands of conductor Edward Gardner, Britten’s score flares, sparks and fractures with white heat and luminescence. The ENO orchestra is on blazing form”; and from John Allison, in the Sunday Telegraph: “Edward Gardner conducts a blistering account of the score that reminds one of Britten’s affinity for Shostakovich. Yet it’s not all brittle and brassy, and Gardner also finds room for haunting lyriscism.”
Click here to read Matthew Rose’s pick of the Six of the best opera villains in The Times.
The performances continue until July 8th. Bravo boys!