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Narcissus and Echo (Salford)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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This beautifully created opera by Anja Djordjevic, is based on the classical Greek myth. Narcissus has eyes only for himself, and Echo, who has eyes only for Narcissus. This is a piece about obsession and vanity, which inevitably both collide with some force, and with dramatic consequences. The director Chris Hill brings the UK premiere of a Serbian chamber opera, which has been translated in English, to the Lowry, with great effect.
The set design by Lucy Read and Giulia Scrimieri is genius, with a photographic studio transforming into a photo gallery and garden swiftly. The lighting by Kelli Zezulka creates an atmosphere that only matched by the eeriness of the background score created by Anja Djodjevic and played brilliantly by the seven piece orchestra, spearheaded by Edward Caine on piano.

David Shepppard portrays a good Narcissus emotionally, but I had to strain to hear his vocal talent. The same goes for the two nymphs, played by Emily Mowbray and Fiona Constantine. It is Lizzie Marshall who stands out as Echo, with both her character being emotionally and vocally coherent, and at times it sounded like she was the only English performer in a foreign opera.
Despite it’s minor flaws, Chris Hill creates a splendid introduction to opera, with a running time of just over an hour, long enough to be captivated and enchanted by its charm. I would urge anyone who feels distanced or even overwhelmed and under cultured about opera, to watch this.

It is just a small taste of a wonderful world that should be explored and experienced. Those who are a fan of opera already, will enjoy this short, yet emotional story, which exceeds in most areas, and proves that less is indeed more.
- Christopher Faith

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