The week in classical: The Hunting Gun; Tenebrae; Cendrillon; Don Carlo – review

Aldeburgh festival, Suffolk; Glyndebourne, East Sussex; Grange Park Opera, West Horsley, Surrey
Everything is in the sinewy detail of Thomas Larcher’s superb 2018 opera. And Cinders goes to Glyndebourne…

With a few deep sighs and a rattle of stick on wood, Thomas Larcher’s The Hunting Gun sidles into life like a beast waking from slumber. It’s a bold start to a breathtaking piece – unquestionably one of the outstanding events in a crowded summer season – which, nearly two hours later, in similar vein, sinks back into oblivion. First seen at the Bregenz festival last year, its UK premiere was the opening highlight of the 2019 Aldeburgh festival, where the Austrian composer is one of this year’s resident artists.

Everything about this dense, sinewy opera, the composer’s first, is in the detail. Based on the 1949 novel of solitude by Yasushi Inoue, the libretto by Friederike Gösweiner retains the Japanese writer’s understated aesthetic. We could dwell on the human dilemma: a gnarl of deceits born out of a love triangle, a betrayed teenager and the poet who enables this tale to be told. Emotions are raw and filleted as meat on a block. As Larcher (b1963) has said, the story can be understood by anyone involved in human relationships, “whether to stay or leave, speak out or stay silent, hold on or let go”.

The Aldeburgh festival continues until 29 June

Cendrillon is in rep at Glyndebourne, East Sussex, until 2 Aug

Don Carlo is in rep at Grange Park Opera, West Horsley, Surrey, until 9 July

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