Rameau’s Dardanus REVIEW: A lyric tragedy in which everything goes wrong


Performing at Buxton Opera House

Directed by Douglas Rintoul, with a stark war zone setting by Cordelia Chisholm, it takes time to get to grips with the typically baroque plot.

Prince Dardanus, son of Jupiter, is in love with Iphise, daughter of his enemy King Teucer. She is betrothed to her father’s new ally Anténor but loves Dardanus.

Dardanus is defeated in battle by Teucer and Anténor plots to murder him in prison.

Advice from a mystical hermit to appeal to Cupid for help takes us to a joyful finale in a marriage between Dardanus and Iphise.

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It takes time to get to grips with the typically baroque plot

Rameau’s music is pure delight and the Old Street Band of period instruments under conductor Jonathan Williams gives a lively account of the balletic score.

Soprano Galina Averina is moving as Iphise and tenor Anthony Gregory in fine voice as Dardanus.

Timothy Nelson brings out the conflicted character of Antenor, and Grant Doyle’s dark baritone dominates as King Teucer.

Dardanus tours in repertoire with Handel’s four-hour Giulio Cesare, which can be seen in two parts as The Death Of Pompey and Cleopatra’s Needle.

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