Dark and heavenly visions: Giovanna d’Arco at Buxton Opera Festival

From its very first chords, Buxton Festival’s Giovanna d’Arco had the shivers rolling down my spine. The curtain lifts on asymmetrical slanting black surfaces, glossy as a grand piano, forming a corner at the heart of the stage. In its apex, Giovanna huddles, charmed and terrified at turns by the visions we hear depicted in Verdi’s overture.

Verdi plays mercilessly with our moods in Giovanna d’Arco, interleaving some of his most menacing dark lines with delicate pastoral melodies to illustrate the choice that faces Giovanna: the happy, fulfilled life of a country girl, or the glorious and painful destiny to which the angels (dressed as nuns and appearing above the black screens) call her in tones of unearthly purity.

Click here to read my full review on Bachtrack.

John Everett Millais, Joan of Arc

John Everett Millais, Joan of Arc, 1865

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