Review: Paula Sykes stands out in Sheffield performance of English Touring Opera’s Idomeneo

English Touring Opera at the Lyceum: Idomeneo by Mozart

Friday, 19th April 2019, 12:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 14:40 pm
Paula Sides as Elettra in English Touring Opera's propduction of Idomeneo

This opera is based on a legend told by Homer. King Idomeneo of Crete was returning from the Trojan War when his ship was threatened by a fierce storm.

He vowed to Neptune that if his life was saved he would sacrifice the first person he meets on his return and this turns out to be his son.

Idomeneo’s guilt and Neptune’s anger make for high drama, together with forbidden love between royalty of enemy nations and unrequited love in Crete.

The music is wonderful with towering storms, raging emotions and a sea-monster laying waste the land, as well as exquisite arias and deeply expressive orchestral music.

The chorus and orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Peter Kenny, gave an excellent performance and all the singing was good.

Paula Sykes was truly outstanding in the tragic role of Elettra.

The staging was odd, with one large flat sliding panel and a pen for the chorus.

The panels of coloured light also felt flat whilst the drama raged but the quality of the music made this unimportant. Musically, this is a good production.

Mavis Kirkham