Teatro Real's majestic production of Handel's vivid tragedy, Tamerlano, stars a Lear-like Plácido Domingo as the Turkish Sultan Bajazet, caught between pride, love and loyalty. Displaying the uniquely heroic quality of his voice, Domingo heads a superb cast, including Sara Mingardo, Monica Bacelli and Ingela Bohlin, all magnificently responsive to Paul McCreesh's authentic and luminous interpretation of the score. The stunning theatrical staging by Graham Vick provides a splendid setting for the characters and for designer Richard Hudson's extravagant Baroque-Islamic costumes, emphasising the brilliance of one of Handel's finest dramatic achievements.
‘Here Domingo, with his superb diction, his great declamatory power and eloquent phrasing…brings a towering presence and bags of vocal charisma to Bajazet. …This is surely one of Vick’s finest achievements in the opera house.’ The Sunday Times
27th February 2009
“At 68, the great singer/actor’s voice still juts above the crowd — burnished, velvety and hugely expressive, if less so than in previous years. His heroic, flawed Bajazet dominates, although his Baroque style is idiosyncratic to say the least, and his first aria, Forte e lieto, somewhat wayward. If his technique doesn’t always match the cast’s Baroque specialists, his dramatic weight is ideal for Handel’s wonderfully dramatic, unusually dark masterpiece.
Tamerlano’s four-hour length is buoyed by the vigour with which Paul McCreesh conducts the meaty, non-Baroque house orchestra of the Teatro Real...and the fluid, informally stylised dramatic treatment of the director Graham Vick.
There’s not a duff voice on stage, with Monica Bacelli notable as a rather eccentric Tamerlano sparring with Sara Mingardo’s excellent Andronico. Richard Hudson’s stunning Baroque-Islamic set, dominated by a large foot planted on a suspended globe — less Monty Python than it might appear — dazzles with restrained splashes of colour, crowned by the entry of Tamerlano’s betrothed, Irene, on a huge blue elephant.”
“The grandly tragic figure of the enslaved Turkish sultan Bajazet… is a recent departure for Plácido Domingo, and one that could be supposed to lie outside his comfort zone. So it says much for his artistry and intelligence that he makes such a significant success of it in this filming of Graham Vick's 2008 Madrid production. ...the opera is one of Handel's greatest, reaching a powerful climax in Bajazet's suicide scene. Here Domingo, even with his now diminished vocal resources, puts some of his Baroque specialist colleagues to shame with the psychological penetration of his performance. In Richard Hudson's generally handsome and relatively spare semi-abstract designs the show looks good... Paul McCreesh gets decent playing from the non-period Madrid musicians...”
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