Nabucco: Bath Opera
Wroughton Theatre, Bath
A bold decision to present this opera "in the round" paid off handsomely with some remarkably effective dramatic moments – the destruction of the temple made the audience jump from their seats. It had the great merit of stark simplicity, alongside carefully managed movement of the chorus, which worked very well.
The solo singing was consistently excellent: Niall Hoskin conveyed the transformation of Nabucco with emotional directness and the solo in Act 4 was superb as his madness disappeared and the new persona emerged.
Judy Davis as the tragic Abigail showed us her full vocal power and range in a compelling portrait of a woman finally moved to repentance . Roderick Hunt's basso profundo was exactly right for Zachariah the High Priest of the Hebrews, forceful and weighty. The lovers, Fenena and Ismael, touching and almost tragic were splendidly sung by Hannah Lockwood and Rupert Drury. Katherine Adams sang the part of Anna, Neil Kirkman, the High Priest of Baal and David Edwards Abdullah.
The chorus, after a slightly tentative opening, developed a fine full sound and the wellknown chorus in Act 3 was full of fervour and longing – beautifully done. Conductor Peter Blackwood – at slightly long range, with the aid of TV monitors – produced some really good, balanced playing from the orchestra, the brass especially had a great night.
This was as good a performance as I've heard from Bath Opera, combining musical excellence, strikingly attractive costumes with imaginative direction from John Palmer. A thoroughly exciting and enjoyable evening for the audience: what a pity it wasn't larger. But on a more positive note, for one, at least, it was her first ever opera – and she can't wait for the next. Perhaps the most eloquent tribute?
Peter Lloyd Williams