From the Vault Dept.: The Glimmerglass Festival is on the brink of opening again, after the inevitable Covid-inspired summer off. Plenty of info to be gained at their website, and keep in mind that the reduced season has its own seating challenges as well. But they tend to do such things well, as was the case a decade again ago when I penned the below.
MURDERING YOUR CHILDREN always grabs headlines, and Greek mythological Medea long ago grabbed the title of most famous filicide. Her story varies from source to source, but by the time Luigi Cherubini got hold of it, she was a sorceress who’d already murdered her own brother in aid of her beloved Jason, of fleece-hunting Argonauts fame. Cherubini was a Beethoven contemporary whose music was lauded by that composer, and his work on this opera, which premiered in 1797, shows unexpectedly forward-thinking musical techniques.
Photo by Julieta Cervantes
The title role gives her a grand entrance and an even bigger exit, but the heart of the piece is her struggle to justify the horrible, revenge-driven act she’s contemplating. Deshorties skillfully mined the edge of madness written into the part, reinforcing subtle messages in the music without ever going over the top.