This is a very great opera that can take many different interpretations. However, there is no room for compromise. Ultimately, it either has to be done straight and with absolute conviction that the themes with which it deals are as important to our culture now as they were to Verdi in the 1860s. Or if the traditional setting is thought to raise too many troubling questions or is beyond budget to realize then a fully thought-through alternative scenario is needed.
Diving into the 1901 Club just nearby Waterloo is not exactly like falling down a rabbit hole, but the press preview for the launch of a CD album ahead of the summer revival of Will Todd’s opera was certainly a startling escape from the harassed world of the commuters of SE1. While ‘another hundred people got onto their trains’, your reviewer exchanged pleasantries with a very debonair Mad Hatter and a droll White Rabbit. Tarts with hearts (baked) were scattered temptingly around the different levels of this charming period building, and we could explore the cluttered, over-furnished Edwardian rooms at leisure….. I had rather hoped to be accosted by a Red Queen or rescued by a White Knight or even to have shared a chaise longue with the Caterpillar, but in the end I was happy to settle for a demure performance by Fflur Wyn of Alice’s main number, ‘I … Read more