Purcell's King Arthur
Sven-Eric Bechtolf (stage director), René Jacobs (conductor) — With Annett Fritsch, Robin Johannsen, Benno Schachtner...
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Sven-Eric Bechtolf — Stage director
Julian Crouch — Set designer, co-stage director
Gail Skrela — Choreographer
Kevin Pollard — Costume designer
Olaf Freese — Lighting
Joshua Higgason — Video
Detlef Giese — Dramaturgy
Annett Fritsch — Soprano
Robin Johannsen — Soprano
Benno Schachtner — Countertenor
Mark Milhofer — Tenor
Stephan Rügamer — Tenor
Arttu Kataja — Baritone
Johannes Weisser — Baritone
Martin Wright — Chorus Master
What does Henry Purcell (1659–1695) mean by “dramatick opera,” the description of his King Arthur, or The British Worthy? Conductor René Jacobs—Baroque specialist and connoisseur since his beginnings as a countertenor in the 1970s—makes it clear in a new production of the masterwork, staged by the brilliant Sven-Eric Bechtolf, which cleverly adapts the original dialogues that animated the hybrid music-theatre form in 17th-century England.
This version of the 1691 semi-opera puts a refreshing twist on the story of King Arthur, transposing the action to World War II-era England where politics and history blend with satire and fantasy to create a fascinating and polished final product. The expressive force, breathtaking variety, and inexhaustible beauty of Purcell’s score are rounded out by fragments of different works by Purcell and others, often accompanying the reshaped spoken dialogues in an almost cinematic style; the spellbinding music, coupled with magnetic stage performances, dazzling sets and costumes, panoramic video projections, and even puppets, make this a compelling interpretation of a timeless classic you'll want to watch again and again!