Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Momentous Clash of Church and State Is Refreshingly Retold; @Thestandardarts in Association With

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Momentous Clash of Church and State Is Refreshingly Retold; @Thestandardarts in Association With

Article excerpt

OPERA DON CARLO Royal Opera House, WC2 BARRY MILLINGTON VISCONTI'S sumptuous 1958 production of Verdi's Don Carlo is still fondly remembered by opera veterans. Nicholas Hytner's 2008 staging, revived for the third time by Paul Higgins, offers instead a refreshingly minimalist, stimulatingly postmodernist take on the work.

Bob Crowley's sets for the monastery garden feature black cellular units resembling an upmarket storage facility. But they also evoke the deadly conformity imposed by the 16th-century Catholic church. The garish vulgarity of the gold-encrusted cathedral facade, juxtaposed with an image of Jesus's bleeding head in similarly dubious taste, speaks volumes too. Stepping into the formidable shoes of Jonas Kaufmann is the American tenor Bryan Hymel, who brings a bright-toned, focused, ringing quality to the title role. As his friend, Rodrigo, Christoph Pohl is eloquent of line but lacking charismatic projection. Kristin Lewis, making her Royal Opera debut, began hesitantly but by the fifth act her voice had blossomed. …

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