Power II: Cruel fall (Saul/Glyndebourne)
The current production of Saul at Glyndebourne is astonishing stuff, and I was glad of a second chance to see it, to mull it over. I was even more convinced by it on second watching. The movement – especially dancing jars at time and rarely contributes all that much to Saul’s story. The whole thing seemed more coherent: Saul’s descent to madness was at Purves’ hands, terrifying. A darkness exuded from his presence usually only found in Otello. The technical difficulties on opening night were overcome by singing Author of Peace from the front of the stage. As for Iestyn Davies: ‘O Lord Whose Mercies’ in particular was even more astonishingly, gut-wrenching perfect, something I wouldn’t have guessed possible. He must surely be at the very top of his game and perhaps the finest countertenor at present amongst very steep competition.
It remains, however, that the ambiguous and curious movement detracts from the first-order music making and clever production.
A fuller review may be read here.
Cast and creative team
Saul Christopher Purves
David Iestyn Davies
Merab Lucy Crowe
Michal Sophie Bevan
Jonathan Paul Appleby
High Priest Benjamin Hulett
Witch of Endor John Graham-Hall
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Conductor Ivor Bolton
Director Barrie Kosky
Designer Katrin Lea Tag
Choreographer Otto Pichler
Lighting Designer Joachim Klein
Assistant to the Choreographer Silvano Marraffa