Produced by Opera North in Leeds and then touring, this production wraps the stage in a chain curtain and uses this as a subtle projection surface to track the darkening mood of the piece with gestural painting. Between acts fragments of Chénier’s poetry continue the painterly motif and are projected across the textural gauze.
The dominant image is formed by a sheer, chain-link curtain that surrounds the action, and through which the condemned poet Chénier and his beloved Maddalena must pass en route to their appointment with madame guillotine.
This is Opera North at its imaginative and resourceful best – a thrilling evening that richly deserved its enthusiastic reception.
Combining with Peter Mumford’s flexible and impressive lighting design and Dick Straker’s projections, the design makes use of mobile structures and elegantly shimmering curtains of chains ... The projections, like the production as a whole, become less and less glossy, dingier and more bespattered, as the pious hypocrisies of the opening act are challenged, fought, and finally superseded.