This Passion by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was announced as conducted by Mark Padmore and that was not fully true. Maybe he conducted during the rehearsals, maybe the idea and conception of the performance was his but he was not conducting anything during the public performance. It’s ok to have a chamber orchestra without conductor, and many baroque ensembles rely on the continuo players to get tempi indications and attacks.
Doing an opera in the Roundhouse is stupid. Very stupid. Mostly because you cannot have a unamplified spectacle done in a round stage/auditorium with the singers facing different directions. Sound is a directional thing, you know, with waves propagating towards a specific direction. And the voice is projected on a single direction. This is the most basic thing in acoustics. And voice is the most basic thing in opera. So this does not work.
After the Piemontesi Mozart concert from the day before, more Mozart piano music: this time it was Piano Concerto No. 22 with Llŷr Williams as soloist and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton (the man with the longest baton in UK). Although it was a nice performance I found sort of a discrepancy between the classical soft-and-sweet Mozart that the orchestra was playing with light dynamics and the darker and more revolutionary that Williams played on the solo parts, with kind of messy cadenzas.
After the short summer break I came back to the Royal Opera House to see Die Zauberflöte. It had been little more than a month and I was properly fed by Grimeborn and some Proms. All the pictures and video I had seen from this production were elegant and very beautiful. And that is the main problem of this David McVicar’s production: its main virtue is the perfect visuals. But it stages the full of symbolism Mozart opera as a plain fairytale: no symbolism, no intra-story, no subtext.