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Handel’s feisty female

Islington soprano establishes herself as one of the finest Handelians of her generation with title role in Partenope

23 March, 2017 — By Sebastian Taylor

Sarah Tynan in ENO’s Partenope. Photo: Donald Cooper

ISLINGTON soprano Sarah Tynan is quite stunning singing the title role in Handel’s Partenope in English National Opera’s production at the London Coliseum.

Indeed, her excellent performance establishes her as one of the finest Handelians of her generation. Singing with delightful elegance, she makes the most of Handel’s darting turns of phrase. She sings a wonderful line, reserving sufficient breath to move into strong vibrato at full throttle.

Partenope is the fourth of her major roles in Handel operas.

She has sung Romilda for ENO in Xerxes; Merab in Saul for Glyndebourne on Tour; and Ginevra in Ariodante for Scottish Opera.

“Partenope is a feisty, strong willed, independent woman,” Sarah says. “She is sexually liberated and considers herself every bit the equal of the men who surround her.

“It’s a fabulous character to play with four different declarations of love, betrayal, intrigue and lots of good laughs.”

Sarah lives near Arlington Square, Islington, with her partner Leigh Melrose, two cats, and two children – both at the local Hanover primary school.

Sarah and Leigh are something of an opera power couple. He’s an accomplished baritone and has just been singing a star role The Winter’s Tale at the Coliseum.

ENO’s Partenope is a revival of Christopher Alden’s award-winning 2008 production, delightfully set in the 1920s.

It’s a delicious production, sparkling with enthusiasm.

Designs and costumes inspired by the Surrealist imagery of Man Ray are full of fun. The first act is a visual treat.

There are strong performances from other singers and conductor Christopher Curnyn drives the whole thing along with gusto, bringing out the best from the ENO orchestra.

• ENO’s production of Handel’s Partenope is at the London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2, March 24, 7pm, 020 7845 9300,

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