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The Enchantress review at The Grange Hampshire

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David Fielding’s production of Tchaikovsky’s rare opera brings the period forward from a vague 15th-century setting to a modern Russia of mobile phones and the Mafia.

The dubious locale where Kuma, the attractive innkeeper of the title, has the fatal meeting with Prince Nikita and later his son Yuri that changes and ultimately destroys all their lives, becomes a seedy brothel. Kuma is the madam, Nikita the local supremo of a violent criminal organisation.

It works wonderfully, partly due to the imagination and consistency with which Fielding designs as well as directs but also because of a superb cast, all of whom have the vocal credentials to empower Tchaikovsky’s writing.

Janis Kelly, one of the most resourceful actresses on the British operatic stage today, engages at every level with the mature, worldly-wise but vulnerable Kuma. Vassily Savenko brings authority and grandeur to the role of the moody, dissatisfied Nikita.

Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts is convincing as his volatile son, whose affair with Kuma begins when he goes to tackle her about destroying his parents’ marriage. As his vengeful mother, Carole Wilson gives a performance of exceptional intensity.

Add to this a borderline psychotic account of Nikita’s right-hand man Mamirov from Stephen Richardson, who doubles in this version as the poison-providing Kudma, and the evening takes on a cumulative power that explodes in the final scene.

Outstanding work from the chorus, with conductor David Lloyd-Jones securing a performance of considerable style and momentum.

Production Information

The Grange, Hampshire , June 10-July 6

Composer
Tchaikovsky
Director
David Fielding
Producer
Grange Park Opera
Cast includes
Janis Kelly, Carole Wilson, Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts, Vassily Savenko
Running time
4hrs 20 mins
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