Handel's Partenope, Snape

This performance of Handel's opera Partenope made its appeal to a near capacity audience at Snape Maltings in various ways.

By CHRISTOPHER SMITH

This performance of Handel's opera Partenope made its appeal to a near capacity audience at Snape Maltings in various ways.

Opting for a thoroughly modern production, Netia Jones brought out the human, not to say the adolescent side of the complicated amours of Partenope, the legendary foundress of Naples.

Laughter rang out, but the basic eroticism of the plot was not conveyed, despite cross-dressing, undressing and some scarcely decent pawing.

Costumes were modern (and sometime ill-fitting), the setting was stark and an outsize screen saver with fish swimming about evoked the Bay of Naples. Faces were often left in darkness, while the lighting projected huge silhouettes of the characters.

The disjointed phrases audible in the middle of the hall made it difficult to judge the translation.

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