David et Jonathas, Festival Theatre, Mon 20 Aug
Psychological complexities of OT story brought to the fore in Andreas Homoki's musical feast of a production
This article is from 2012.
Musically, Les Arts Florissants’ David et Jonathas is a feast. French Baroque opera at its finest, Charpentier’s moving retelling of the biblical tragedy about two men who love each other - however that might be interpreted – is rooted in the most wonderfully vibrant music. Under the baton of founder conductor William Christie, his period instrument orchestra’s performance is unparalleled in this genre of music. As to Andreas Homoki’s production, things are harder to fathom. Set inside a stripped pine wooden box that contracts, expands and sub-divides frequently, for the most part it works because it is so startlingly different from the music and, as a result, shifts more focus onto Charpentier’s score.
The psychological complexities of the Old Testament story, for instance, King Saul’s jealousy of David’s relationship with his son, Jonathan, or what Saul is going through when his wife dies, are played out within the box, its walls often bearing in on the main protagonists as the embodiment of the mental pressure they face. All the principal characters sing and act superbly, Pascal Charbonneau as David, Ana Quintans in the (short) trouser role as Jonathan and Neal Davies singing Saul being particularly strong.
Festival Theatre, run now ended.