Opera Scotland

Triumph of Time and Truth 2014Ludus Baroque

Read more about the opera Triumph of Time and Truth

This is a rarely performed work from right at the end of Handel's career, and full of lovely things. If he may no longer have been up to the task of composing entirely new work, he was certainly able to revise one of his early Italian pieces and make it suitable for a modern (non-Catholic) audience. It contains stylistic references from throughout his career, with strong reminders of such aspects as the pastoral elements of Acis and Galatea and the sly wit of Semele.

Edinburgh-based Ludus Baroque are a group of excellent specialist period musicians, who have, for several years, given performances in the Canongate Kirk of the Bach B Minor Mass as part of the Festival Fringe (this year's is on 7 August) and the Christmas Oratorio in December. They have recently begun both to tour and to add Handel to the repertoire, and this was their first trip north of the central belt. Given the excellence of St John's Kirk as a performing venue it is certainly to be hoped that the return in August for Athalia will mark the start of a regular series of visits.

The band and chorus were excellent throughout, under the beautifully paced direction of Richard Neville-Towle. The work provides several solo opportunities for members of the choir, and there were notably well-played obbligato parts for harpsichord, oboe and recorder. The quintet of soloists included three who have appeared recently in major roles with Scottish Opera, while the two sopranos, new names, made an equally positive impression. If (when?) Scottish Opera revive their superb Semele production they need look no further for performers in the lead roles.

Anna Dennis had a lovely tone and admirably clear diction - the role of Beauty starts off with many parallels to Semele, and her opening solo reflects the same sentiments as 'Myself I shall adore'. Her education at the hands of Time and Truth (or Counsel as the text calls him) has a slightly less drastic outcome, and her final aria is a beautiful confection with a lovely oboe melody. The voices of Ed Lyon and Benjamin Bevan rang out effectively when required, though also showing subtle use of words. Tim Mead again showed himself as an excellent Handel stylist, and Emmanuelle de Negri also put her airs over with excellent clarity.

This was a very welcome first visit to Perth, received with great enthusiasm by an audience that could certainly have been larger, but was probably satisfactory for an unfamiliar group.

They have made an excellent recording on Delphian Records DCD34135

Performance DatesTriumph of Time and Truth 2014

Map List

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock | Greenock

1 May, 19.30

St John's Kirk | Perth

2 May, 19.30

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