Doris Dörrie to direct Handel's Admeto, re di Tessaglia
This article is from 2009.
A world authority on Handel serves up a distinctly Far Eastern flavour
It might be nearly 300 years since it was first performed in London, but Handel’s opera Admeto, re di Tessaglia isn’t showing its age. Given an innovative reworking by director Doris Dörrie, the action has been transplanted from the classical Greek world of Admeto into the rigid, hierarchical world of the Japanese samurai. Dancers, including the famous butoh pioneer Tadashi Endo, appear in colourful costumes as ghosts, sheep, demons and spooks, in a production reminiscent visually of Japan’s highly stylised kabuki theatre.
Tim Mead is Admeto, the King of Thessaly, who is reunited with Alceste (Kirsten Blaise) on her return from Hades tormented by rage, jealousy and love, making for a bumpy ride on the road to everlasting happiness.
Conductor Nicholas McGegan, who is based in California and spends his time touring the globe, is something of an authority on Handel. Not only has he conducted 23 of his operas, he’s also conducting Acis & Galatea at the Usher Hall on 30 August and is artistic director of the Göttingen International Handel Festival in Germany, where this production of Admeto premiered in June. As he states: ‘Admeto deals with the big themes in life and Handel’s characters are universal.’
Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 28&29, 31 Aug, 7.15pm, £14–£64.