You might think that, in "Hercules", musical drama created in London in 1745, George Frideric Handel did nothing else that sacrifice to the cult of the hero. But the mythological folklore has nothing to do in these three acts; better, the winner of the famous work, a little fat, a little tired, fades before his wife, Deianira.
The booklet of Thomas Broughton, can say that it comes from a distance, based on the "metamorphoses" of Ovid, "Trachiniennes" of Sophocles, not to mention "Hercules on the mount Oita", Sénèque tragedy. Hercules has disappeared; It is, however, and with him, prisoner, Princess Iole, whom he killed the father. Wishing peace, the Warrior the releases. Jealousy seizes Deianira: her husband thinks unfaithful, she offers the tunic of Nessus poisoned. He died in atrocious suffering, is received in Mount Olympus, while Deianira slips into madness.
A direction of actors calibrated
Originally, "Hercules" was not intended to be represented. But, to midway between theatre and profane oratorio, he attempted to stage men. Richard Peduzzi metaphorically pushing the four characters (plus Lichas, the Herald, and a priest of Jupiter) in a sort of wooden covered ground of sand box. Ashore, a statue collapsed of Hercules, whose elements, first scattered, are assembled and erected at the end of the last act, restoring the soldier entered the legend his heroic dimension. Wanting to humanize the protagonists, Rudy Sabounghi trivializes them in contemporary clothes more "Halle clothing" as haute couture. Luc Bondy makes scene as ordinary people, experiencing their passions. Known for his taste for detail, simple gesture, which will hit just. His direction of actors is thus made, calibrated to the millimetre, never repetitive, even in the times of the air, and refusing to any effect. If it avoids not lengths, even the boredom of a first act of exhibition, its last scene, stripped, develops this tension pushes Deianira to the irrational and managed to make near Handel of the current time.
It is also the approach of William Christie. Les Arts florissants instrumentalists are not, this evening, to the best of their form (the choir, he is beautiful), and the orchestral prologue suffer. The Chief plays more on the homogeneity of the stamps on their diversity, preferring the softness of colour variety; but, as Bondy, it maintains the dramatic tension while providing moments of pain and tenderness of a poignant emotion. Real actors, singers forget not the music, without ever surrender to a misplaced virtuosity, whether Malena Ernman (Lichas), Toby Spence (Hyllus, the son of Hercules and Deianira), always surprising because also at ease in Handel in Wagner, William Shimell (Hercules), a nothing rude in his vocalizations but dying with panache. Despite a little fed grave registry, Camilla Tilling (Iole) is that sweetness and dignity. Joyce DiDonato (Déjanire) passes of love to despair without toil in a range which hesitated between the soprano and the mezzo; creamy, his voice has a dramatic potential seeking to flourish.
Recovery in concert in Beaune on 23 July, co-production with the Wiener Festwochen and Opéra national de Paris will be on show at the palais Garnier next season. \