Irish Youth Opera presents Agrippina by Handel – In a co-production with Northern Ireland Opera in association with the Irish Chamber Orchestra & The Lime Tree Theatre.
Oscar Wilde’s subtitle for The Importance of Being Earnest – A Trivial Comedy for Serious People would be equally apt for Oliver Mears’s wonderful production of Handel’s Agrippina. It may be over 200 years old but its a heady mixture of power struggles, family rivalry and betrayal, political chicanery and sexual peccadilloes in ancient Rome lends itself readily to Mears’s highly imaginative and hugely entertaining contemporary setting. Anyone who thinks a Handel opera must be turgid and static is in for a surprise. This Irish Youth Opera /Northern Ireland Opera co-production, in association with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Lime Tree Theatre with The Irish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Cohen, was a treat from start to finish.
Vampish Agrippina (teetering on the brink of a wardrobe malfunction throughout) will do whatever it takes to ensure the succession of her son, Nerone (Rachel Kelly), to the imperial throne, on the death of her husband Claudio. For Claudio (Alan Ewing) dismiss any image of toga and imperial laurel crown; think Donald Trump seasoned with the good shake of the Fianna Fáil front bench circa 1982. His crass vulgarity knows no bounds. His lechery is manipulated and derided by Máire Flavin’s Agrippina and Anna Devin as Poppea (two beautifully sung and delightfully realised characterisations). Sharon Carty was equally impressive in the potentially jarring, trouser role of Ottone. Indeed it would be both unfair to single out individual performances (even Devin’s) as the production was brilliantly served by an evenly balanced cast, completed by Dawn Burns, Brendan Collins, Rachel Kelly and Padraic Rowan.
If you live anywhere near Armagh, don’t miss this production which concludes its run at the Market Place Theatre this Saturday, September 19th. You’ll be kicking yourself if you do.
Irish Youth Opera presents Agrippina by Handel In a co-production with Northern Ireland Opera in association with the Irish Chamber Orchestra & The Lime Tree Theatre.
Dates Sep 12 – 13 @ 19:30.
Tickets €20 / €26 / €30.
Duration 155 mins inc. interval.
O’Reilly Theatre, Belvedere