Designer David Hockney and director John Cox return to supervise this revival of their iconic production of Stravinsky’s opera based on William Hogarth’s famous series of prints. The production was first seen in 1975 and has returned to Glyndebourne numerous times, as well as being reproduced by other companies the world over. Judging from the ovation the creative team received at their curtain call, the audience is delighted to see it again.
And so they should be. Hockney’s inventively coloured and textured designs are distinctively unified and provide a memorable frame for Cox’s skilful presentation of the narrative. 35 years old at this revival, this is not just Glyndebourne’s most durable staging, but one of its most outstanding. Its only problem is the unduly protracted pauses between scenes, which induce a loss of momentum.
The cast is strong though not immaculate. Charmingly personified as the young lovers are by Topi Lehtipuu’s Tom and Miah Persson’s Anne Trulove, neither is quite big enough vocally to seize the attention. Matthew Rose’s more solid Nick Shadow is a winner, and Clive Bayley does sterling work as Anne’s respectable father. Elena Manistina’s Baba the Turk and Graham Clark’s Sellem are both excellent.
Conductor Vladimir Jurowski draws fine playing from the London Philharmonic in his detailed account of the score, yet while the chorus are marvellous in their acting, some of their singing is rhythmically imprecise in a piece that demands consistent pinpoint accuracy.