There are few things nicer on a rainy night than stepping into a cozy theatre bar and finding a delicious, hearty bean and chorizo stew to warm you up. My first time at the Arcola, I was pleased to find such treasures in the eco-conscious converted paint factory before the show.
The Medium is part of the Arcola’s annual festival of new or underperformed opera, Grimeborn. While the performances are very strong I can’t help feeling that there is a reason that this one-hour opera is an obscure one. The main problem with The Medium is the programme notes about the composer’s inspiration are more compelling than the rather heavily drawn story with flat, stereotypical characters that he actually wrote. In real life, Menotti met a baroness who used to hold séances in her villa near where he was writing one summer. Being allowed to witness a séance, he found the experience a moving one which highlighted the creative and comforting power of belief that the baroness experienced in contrast with the mundane destructiveness of his own skepticism.
Read on for the rest of the review over at Everything Theatre.