Alcina - Barbican, 4 December 2010
This was billed as a concert performance of Handel's Alcina, but it wasn't one of those nose-in-book affairs. With the musicians and most of the cast fresh from a fully-staged version at Vienna's Staatsoper (the first baroque opera there in 40 years!), the awkwardly wide Barbican stage was put to good use for once. Singers sang to each other not their scores, toyed with improbable props (a sheet of paper for an urn....please), and faux 18th century settees were distributed on either side of an orchestra twice the size of Handel's. But then Marc Minkowski's approach to period performance has never been the emaciated doctrinaire type. Vibrato was flaunted, instrumental soloists stepped up front to do their bit.