"Very nice. Very baroque." Thus the summary review that I've overheard of a fellow member of the audience of the dernière performance of Händel's Oreste that I've been to tonight. And so it was!

While the theater's austerity and the stage setting oozed more of a school group performance's atmosphere and thus was not opulent at all, the pasticcio renano performed very well indeed. The small ensemble was precise and lively and the singers were much better than I expected. The stage was set in a rather surprising way: Diana's temple on Tauris looked very much like one of those little greek beach shops, complete with miniature statues for sale and all.

The direction had quite a few fun ideas as well. So, the evil tyrant received his comeuppance perched over an ice cream freezer (consequently there was no ice cream on sale during intermission). Or Herbert Grönemeyer's Der Mensch was featured at one point - and surprisingly, it made perfect sense. And the programme contains a unexpected treatise of sorts on the relative merits of tshapkas (a.k.a. ushanka) vs. Astrakhan hats (pictures of both here), which were worn by the tyrant and his dogsbody.

All in all, a really nice evening! Oh, and thank you to the anonymous donor who left a beautiful, yet empty tin of Yardley English Lavender Soap on the boot of my Jag in the car park. I can take a hint, you know! But given the current weather, surely it would be a waste to use that kind of soap, even on an English car!

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