Critical reactions to Isabeau

The first night of our new production of Mascagni’s Isabeau, a UK premiere, took place on Saturday 14 July. Here’s what the critics thought of the production. To see what our audience thought take a look here.

“In a performance that deserves wide notice, the tenor David Butt Philip has never sounded more exciting as Folco, the lover who fatefully captures Isabeau’s heart.”

– Martin Kettle for The Guardian

“The singing of Anne Sophie Duprels as a touching, impassioned, vocally fearless Isabeau, and David Butt Philip as an ardent, heroic Folco, is worth the price of the ticket alone. The tenor negotiates the hurdles of the demanding part with terrific elan and has golden potential in dramatic roles.”

– Hugh Canning for Sunday Times

“There are well-judged contributions from Mikhail Svetlov (King) and George von Bergen (Cornelius), and bitter-sweet vignettes from Fiona Kim as Folco’s grandmother.

Lloyd-Evans’ excellent staging emphasises the claustrophobic nature of a medieval town, with buildings moving during the horse ride to extenuate the effect. And I loved the wonderful falcon puppet that Folco calls from the skies, and the three ever-present penitents, each mutilated in mouth, eyes or ear.”

– Mark Ronan for The Telegraph

“Duprels is, as always, terrific; David Butt Philip as Folco shows yet again what a prospect he is; and there’s a first rate cameo from the veteran Fiona Kimm as Folco’s granny.

The orchestra, under an impassioned Francesco Cilluffo, play their hearts out. The chorus, who have plenty to do here, truly excel.”

– David Mellor for Mail on Sunday

“Anne Sophie Duprels conveys the inner steel of the young woman in a hostile male world and tenor David Butt Philip as Folco is in glorious voice.”

– Clare Colvin for Sunday Express

“Anne-Sophie Duprels shines like silver in the title role, be she dignified, vilified or horrified. Whether clad in gleaming white or riding sort-of naked on a chrome puppet horse, the soprano’s intensity blazes unbroken with vocal brilliance and conviction. She alone is worth at least half the price of admission.

For the other half you get David Butt Philip as Folco in a performance that confirms his status as one of the leading Italianate tenors working today, of any nationality. Butt Philip’s versatility is renowned – this time last year he was singing in Glyndebourne’s new Hamlet opera – yet he receives insufficient recognition for the sheer beauty of his full-throated power.”

– Mark Valencia for WhatsOnStage

“Superbly sung”

– David Gutman for The Stage

“Vocally, [Anne Sophie Duprels] switched from heavenly to highly charged – and from lyricism and declamation – in an instant. Her voice shone lustrously but there were also rapturous pianissimos – one sustained stratospheric whisper towards the close seemed to suspend time – and there was variety of both colour and dynamics. A truly regal performance.”

– Claire Seymour for Opera Today

“It is hard to imagine a better performance of this work by all concerned.”

– Tim Hochstrasser for Plays to See

“The Chorus of Opera Holland Park shines regularly in verismo repertoire, and it shone again here. Isabeau could not realistically ask for greater vocal support.”

– Colin Clarke for Seen and Heard International

“The work is full of musical interest but needs a team who can respond to its particular requirements, and at Opera Holland Park, Martin Lloyd-Evans, Francesco Cilluffo, Anne-Sophie Duprels, David Butt Philip and the cast all responded with real love.”

– Robert Hugill for Planet Hugill

“The Chorus of Opera Holland Park acquits itself vividly as the generally uncomprehending populace, with the City of London Sinfonia no less up to the mark in some dense and often exacting writing. It helps when the score is so ably conducted by Francesco Cilluffo, here making an auspicious OHP debut. In music which could too easily lose shape and direction, he steers the drama on to its melodramatic conclusion with admirable purpose.”

– Richard Whitehouse for Classical Source


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Photos by © Robert Workman and Ali Wright for Opera Holland Park.