In the Arcola’s compact but acoustically dead Studio 2, where the stage is the bare floor with seating on three sides, director Natalie Katsou and designer Yiannis Katsaris emphasised the suffocating atmosphere of Menotti’s work. Creative team and cast alike rose to the challenge of the deceptively tricky music and of the cramped space. […]
The plot, triggered by an event in Menotti’s own life, turns on the meaning of belief. […] Probing questions are raised about the nature of a spiritual life. Perhaps this is why, admirably, two London churches – St Mary’s, Primrose Hill and the Methodist church, Stoke Newington – agreed to sponsor the opera. Is this a first?
Julia Sitkovetsky was outstanding as the repressed, loving daughter, with Gráinne Gillis – whose voice has rich, dramatic potential – powerful in the title role. The music director, Maite Aguirre, who is also chorus director at Grange Park Opera, whipped quasi-orchestral colour out of a ropy upright piano.