The Britten 100 celebrations continue apace with Fiona Shaw‘s new staging of The Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne. The opera was commissioned by Glyndebourne after the success of Albert Herring and was premiered at the 1946 Festival. The Festival has long championed Britten’s operas and has staged Peter Grimes, Albert Herring, Billy Budd, The Turn of the Screw, Owen Wingrave and Death in Venice all with great success. It is apt then, in this Britten’s centenary year, that the company should choose to stage once again this uniquely challenging and masterful opera. Fiona Shaw brilliantly directs her first Britten opera starring fellow Askonas Holt artists Duncan Rock , David Soar and Catherine Wyn-Rogers. Watch Fiona talk about her production here. Duncan Rock, a former winner of Glyndebourne’s John Christie Award who scored a hit as the Novice’s Friend in the Festival’s acclaimed Billy Budd this summer, has made a triumphant role debut as Tarquinius. Watch an interview with him here. David Soar, a noteworthy Mr Flint in the summer’s Billy Budd, here touchingly takes the role of Lucretia’s wronged husband Collatinus and Catherine Wyn-Rogers, much lauded as a Britten interpreter, makes her long overdue Glyndebourne debut as the nurse Bianca. Read an interview with Catherine about her experiences singing Britten’s music here.
Rupert Christiansen gives the production five stars in his review for The Telegraph saying “Shaw’s superb production of Britten’s chamber opera explores [its] questions with deeply intelligent ambivalence.” He also comments that “Shaw draws magnificent performances from a mostly young cast. The men are just about ideal [including] Duncan Rock as the gym-buffed Tarquinius.” Tim Ashley, reviewing the opera in The Guardian similarly praises Rock’s central performances finding his Tarquinius “charismatic” and saying that he “undercuts Tarquinius’s raffish allure with unnerving intimations of psychotic violence”. Michael Church also gives the production five starts in his review for The Independent, calling Shaw’s production “brilliant” and finding it “wonderfully served by her cast and musicians.” David Nice’s review for The Arts Desk singles out “David Soar’s rock-solid Collatinus” and praises “the sense of total understanding in every word sung by Catherine Wyn-Rogers, the most experienced and best-projecting singer on the stage.”
Stephen Pritchard in The Observer applauds “Shaw’s triumphant production” calling it a “searingly beautiful interpretation of Benjamin Britten’s troublingly ambiguous opera” and finds Duncan Rock “superb as the brute Tarquinius, all menacing physique and rampant ambition”. “Book now” he urges.
Performances continue at Glyndebourne and on tour until 6th December and a recording of this production will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 28th December.
Watch Fiona Shaw talk about her production here.
Watch an interview with Duncan Rock here.
Read an interview with Catherine Wyn-Rogers about her experiences singing Britten’s music here.