It’s Rhodes’s Verdi

CharlesOs­borne sees a well-dressed Aida

The Jewish Chronicle - - ARTS&BOOKS - AIDA English Na­tional Opera, Lon­don WC2

THIS IS English Na­tional Opera’s first new pro­duc­tion of Verdi’s mas­ter­piece Aida since 1979.

It is di­rected by Jo Davies, work­ing for ENO for the first time. She makes the com­pli­cated ac­tion of the opera clear and easy to un­der­stand, greatly helped by the sets and cos­tumes by Zan­dra Rhodes, one of Bri­tain’s best­known fash­ion de­sign­ers, work­ing in opera for the first time in the UK, al­though she has pre­vi­ously de­signed for San Diego Opera in Cal­i­for­nia.

Claire Rut­ter, a fine ex­po­nent of so­prano roles in Ital­ian op­eras, is a for­mi­da­ble Aida, her voice ris­ing with ease above the cho­rus and orches­tra, and she has a su­perb part­ner in tenor John Hud­son as Radamès, a role he has sung with Scot­tish Opera.

Mak­ing her Bri­tish de­but, an Amer­i­can mezzo-so­prano Jane Dut­ton per­forms the role of Am­neris. Like Davis and Rhodes, this is also a ca­reer first for Dut­ton and she sings most ex­cit­ingly and acts with great con­vic­tion. Amonasro, Aida’s fa­ther, is por­trayed firmly by the bass-bari­tone Iain Pater­son, and Gwynne Howell, an old favourite, brings his vast ex­pe­ri­ence and strong bass voice to the role of the Pharaoh.

Stylishly con­ducted by ENO’s mu­sic di­rec­tor Ed­ward Gard­ner, this is an Aida well worth see­ing. The fi­nal per­for­mance is on De­cem­ber 7. Tel: 0871 911 0200

JaneDut­ton( left) andClaireRut­ter­wearZan­draRhodes’scos­tumesin Aida

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