Power-dressed and power hungry: Handel’s Agrippina at Iford

Bruno Ravella has updated the action of Handel’s Agrippina to the consumerist hell of the 1980s, giving us big hair, shoulder pads, cocaine and ruthlessness in spades. Agrippina, immaculately coiffured and sharply suited, channels Alexis (Joan Collins in Dynasty) as she plots, bargains and schemes to ensure her son, Nerone, is proclaimed heir to Claudio’s…

Not quite heroic: Handel’s Hercules at the Barbican

The English Concert play beautifully, the chorus is in superb voice, but a disjointed cast of unconvincing singers mean Hercules never reaches heroic heights. Adapting Sophocles’ Women of Trachis, Handel’s librettist Thomas Broughton decided to tidy up the hero’s character for the 18th century, turning him into a virtuous husband. Apart from producing an immediate structural…

Strong and stylish: Handel’s Ottone by English Touring Opera

Ottone was a great success for Handel in his lifetime, and the ravishing beauty of its music and exciting, dynamic plot shows us why. The consistently high production values of English Touring Opera, who make opera always beautiful but relevantly so, without facile aestheticism, breathe glorious life into Ottone, with a wonderful set, stunning costumes…