This is the debut production by The Grange Festival in the venue recently vacated (don’t ask) by the company still calling itself Grange Park Opera, and it’s clear that their artistic priorities are in the right place. Visually, though, this was all over the shop. Sure, enormous cat’s cradles and gods on bicycles are great as a means of mirroring the richness and fantasy of Monteverdi’s astonishing score. Not so great when they obscure crucial plot points. But I’ll give the new team at The Grange the benefit of the doubt because the performances were generally strong, with a lively band under Michael Chance, a sweet-toned, heroic Ulisse sung by Paul Nilon with a gleam in his eye, and above all, Anna Bonitatibus as Penelope: proud, passionate and able to maintain a regal dignity even while wearing something that looked less like a dress than a gazebo.
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