Glyndebourne Festival review: The Wreckers ‘just don’t work dramatically’ | Theater | Entertainment


Composer Ethel Smyth was an extraordinary figure: a suffragist who was sentenced to two months in Holloway prison for attacking a politician’s house, she later created a Lady of the British Empire for her musical achievements. His opera, The Wreckers, is set in a Cornish coastal village where their only source of income came from plundering the ships they lured to crash on their shores.

A noble pair of lovers who light beacons to save sailors are seen by the villagers as traitors, bringing local politics and romance to the story.

Smyth’s music is impressive and the singing, as always in Glyndebourne, is beautiful, but dramatically The Wreckers just don’t really work.

The plot is convoluted and heavy, there is too little action and the story drags on. After an impressive debut, with excellent lighting and visuals conveying the passions of a storm at sea, director Melly Still did little to counter the sadness of the story.

The final act, in which the villagers seem to keep changing their minds about who to hang, felt particularly confusing and unconvincing.

The Marriage of Figaro *****

The following day, however, audiences were treated to a glorious revival of Michael Grandage’s production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.

It started with Count Almaviva driving on stage in a sports car, which was met with obvious amusement, and the mood even improved as the Count got out of the car, waited a while, then asked the audience to endure a slight delay. because they had a little problem.

Only seconds later, the scene began to roll, as it should have done a little earlier, removing the car from the scene as the scene changed to the bedroom Figaro is to share with his wife Susanna.

The little hiccup and its quick fix seemed to put the audience in a really good mood, and it was the only thing that went wrong all evening.

Glyndebourne has assembled an extremely talented young cast for this production.

Apart from beautiful voices, they all displayed exceptional comedic talent which added to the magnificence of Mozart’s music.

South Korean soprano Hera Hyesang Park was outstanding as Susanna while American soprano Emily Pogorelc was brilliant as mischievous pageboy Cherubino.

Her childish moves and especially her dance at Figaro’s wedding were gloriously funny, making her a real scene stealer even in the background.

American bass-baritone Brandon Cedel (Figaro) and Mexican baritone Germán Olvera (Almaviva) sang powerfully while adding to the fun with some subtle comedic moves.

I’ve often thought that for a theatrical performance to be totally successful, the performers and the audience must be seen to be enjoying themselves alike. According to this criterion, this one was perfect.

Ticket office and information: or 01273 815000 (various dates until 24 June for The Wreckers, 16 July for Le Nozze di Figaro).


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