BEATEN GOLD | London, St Bartholomew-the-Great

The New Renaissance Collective’s debut work Beaten Gold cleverly combined Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with Shakespeare’s Richard II, bringing together narratives suffused with manipulation and power play.

The decision to combine both opera and play, performing only a few scenes from each, could have risked creating a disjointed sequence of events. Yet the performance hung together seamlessly, with new parallels presenting themselves at every twist and turn of the action.

The performance opened with Poppea (Camilla Seale) and Nerone (Laura Hocking): the duo’s voices perfectly balanced with each other, and the chemistry between the performers was notable. Angus Bower-Brown presented a highly sensitive Richard II, providing a strong contrast with the fierce portrayal of Bolingbroke (Frank Kerr) and Northumberland (Saul Boyer). Along with the accompanying early music ensemble throughout, the whole endeavour achieved a level of musicianship and dramatic skill which fully immersed the audience in the unfolding stories.

The subtle, beautiful costume design (Laura Albeck, Jasmine Dhingra) and atmospheric lighting (Chris Burr) should also be noted in their contribution to this innovative new work, which successfully captured the distinctive spirit of Monteverdi’s opera and the narrative intrigue of Richard II. The performance also provided a thought-provoking evening, raising questions about the parallels that can be drawn across different time-spans and art-forms alike.

Check the New Renaissance Collective website for information about upcoming events.

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