Mariinsky Opera's Yannis Kokkos delivers a stylised Berlioz production at the Edinburgh International Festival
This article is from 2014.
Anticipated as one of the must-sees of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, Mariinsky Opera’s visit with Berlioz’s epic Les Troyens (The Trojans) was a mixed bag. Running for five and a half hours, admittedly with two extended intervals, the Mariinsky were challenged in maintaining dramatic momentum in Yannis Kokkos' stylised production. Too much was static, especially in his use of the chorus, with old-fashioned stand and deliver stagecraft from the soloists. More impressive was Kokkos' set design, opening to a very cleverly angled mirror stretching the width and depth of the full stage, therefore giving an optical illusion of it being twice its size, and allowing greater vantage for the audience of what was happening on it.
In the pit, conductor Valery Gergiev produced a typically rich, luxuriant Russian sound from the large-scale orchestra, although while Yulia Matochkina was outstanding as Dido, and Mlada Khudoley a strong Cassandra, it was a bit of a let down that Ukrainian tenor Viktor Lutsyuk did not match their stature with his Aeneas. Nothing could detract, however, from the brilliance and wonder of Berlioz’s score in this visionary masterpiece from the grand opera stage.
Reviewed Fri 29 Aug