Rodelinda Press Reviews
‘These shows give rising talents a chance to prove their worth. Chris Rolls’ modern-dress Handel staging tells the story clearly and fluently, with a flippant touch on the edges but unflinching seriousness when it matters. Sarah Power’s Rodelinda makes the most of her bright, personable soprano and acts her heart out, while Andrew Radley brings expressive lustre to the countertenor role of Bertarido. The key player is [harpsichordist and Music Director Susannah] Wapshott, whose pacing and phrasing, above all in the Act Two prison duet, show complete stylistic command.’
‘Sarah Power’s Rodelinda, sung with a glowing youthfulness…her duet with Andrew Radley as Bertarido (I Embrace You) is as moving as the heart of this opera should be. The comic turns that unfold in the second half, mainly from Reno Troilus (Unulfo) are welcome, if unexpected. Andrew McTaggart (Garibaldo) gets closest to the dark side of the opera, while Sioned Gwen Davies (Eduige) is a likeable baddie. There are several delights in director Chris Rolls and Designer Oliver Townsend’s clever use of their miniature theatre set.’
'Musical director Susannah Wapshott, conducting from her tiny harpsichord, brought an entire palette of colour to the score and moved things along briskly...and Gabi Maas on violin not only produced some lovely flourishes, but at one point she played a fiendishly complicated-looking Swedish Nyckelharpa which created a lovely mellow sound, and immediately won it a new fan...At the heart of the opera there was the exquisite duet between Rodelinda and Bertarido, soprano and counter-tenor voices inter-twining - the musical highlight of the evening.'
‘Chris Rolls’ production for Scottish Opera plays to the human drama, the toy town miniaturism of designer Oliver Townsend’s palace a perfect capsule for the stifling intrigue, lightened by moments of farce. It sat well last night in Greenock’s impressive new Beacon Arts Centre, a crystal clear sound box for vocal performances…None was so outstanding, perhaps, as countertenor Reno Troilus’s sharp-scented Unulfo, though Sarah Power’s Rodelinda was lit by gentle radiance, and Sioned Gwen Davies’s Eduige loaded with attitude.’
*** The Scotsman
‘It was a staggering performance…the audience left feeling distinctly elated after witnessing a really great musical experience…the soloists were superb in every way…their vocal technique and intonation were flawless and their acting ability quite breath taking.’
‘There’s some beautiful singing from Sarah Power as Rodelinda: the Irish soprano has an easy, natural voice and an unfussy stage presence to match. Sioned Gwen Davies is good fun and sturdy-voiced as the sassy Eduige, and the two countertenors – Andrew Radley as the usurped king Bertarido, and Reno Troilus as his nervous counsellor Unulfo – are both strong…The band holds its end up brilliantly, with bags of character from violinist Gabi Maas.’
‘The piece is confidently and attractively sung. Sarah Power brings a lovely purity to the title role, while Richard Rowe’s Grimoaldo navigates Handel’s baroque vocal mazes with dexterity and conviction. There is also a splendid tarty turn by Sioned Gwen Davies as Eduige.’
***Scottish Daily Express
'Sung in English and played in modern costume on a delightfully versatile set, this is a presentation which breaks down barriers without compromising standards...Oliver Townsend's brilliant design and Chris Rolls' constantly moving direction dovetailed in an unobtrusive symphony of action and reaction, which proved the perfect dramatic vehicle for this musically and dramatically gripping account'
'Often Handel's operas become soggy over-heavy fruitcakes far too rich for their audiences. Chris Rolls has got the recipe just about right here, especially for a production touring smaller venues. With only six in the cast, a flexible set and simple lighting, this is no over-produced confection, but neither is it a mere trifle.'