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Britten at La Scala might appear a hard sell to traditionalists, but Richard Jones’s production is uncompromising in its hard- hitting emotionalism. With a 1980’s backdrop of a depressed society with little sense of a future (and certainly with dodgy fashion sense), it paints an appropriately bleak picture of life in the Borough. This stage may be large but the Personenregie is sharp. Grimes’s isolation is palpable, Ellen Orford’s warmth and essential goodness equally so. The cast isn’t a series of grotesques but a collection of cameos most of us would recognise in our own daily lives. Robin Ticciati conducts a detailed and loving account of the score, and La Scala’s orchestra responds with depth of feeling. John Graham-Hall’s Grimes is lighter-voiced than most, but beautifully vocalised. Susan Gritton’s Ellen is elegantly sung, her tone pure and true, and a richly cast group of singers ensure that this is a well-rounded experience.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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