The Rape Of Lucretia, Glyndebourne Tour 2013, until October 25, call 01273 815000

First published in The Critic by

IT is 67 years since Benjamin Britten’s The Rape Of Lucretia was created then first performed at Glyndebourne.

Since then dozens of productions have been created at the world-renowned venue nestled in the South Downs.

But with this year marking 100 years since the composer was born, the public is ready for an updated version of the classic tale.

While its name suggests violence and debauchery, this is essentially a love story as dramatic as any told.

Lucretia is raped by the tyrant Tarquinius Superbus, ruler of Rome, and elects to kill herself rather than live with the shame.

This version, directed by Fiona Shaw with Nicholas Collon conducting the stripped-back chamber orchestra, is as mesmerising and thrilling as has become customary for Glyndebourne.

In Duncan Rock, the muscly male protagonist whose steely look was enough to scare even the bravest of souls, the venue continues to act as a conveyer belt for new talent.

But it was the two chorus narrators, dressed in 1940s attire as an ode to the composer, who shone as out as they guided the captivated audience around the twists and turns.

Completely engaging, wholly accessible, immensely enjoyable – this was opera that would leave even novices asking for more.

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