Tamerlano Blog 2 (11 Feb 2010)

We start with the famous scene towards the end of Act II where Tamerlano sadistically humiliates Bajazet in front of his own daughter. This is one of the longest recitatives in all Handel and is followed by an equally surprising terse trio, the brevity of which leaves the drama poised on a knife-edge. Kurt Streit (who shares the role of Bajazet with Plácido Domingo) catches Bajazet’s pride and stubbornness, and finally his tenderness, with great conviction. This scene has taken all of the day and in the evening I go along to the ROH premiere of Prokofiev’s The Gambler. This bitter, sardonic tale is delivered with aplomb (sensibly in English). Terrific cast and production (including Kurt Streit, moonlighting from Tamerlano as the suave Marquis!). The orchestra are inspired and fluent under Tony Pappano’s totally convincing direction.