WHEN Jessye Norman recorded Dido’s Lament 20 years ago, the result transcended the boundaries of English opera’s form.
There was no doubt it was Purcell’s aria, but if the early instruments were taken away it might have been a modern American spiritual.
A similar alchemy is at work in Another Lament. Ida Duelund Hansen takes several of Purcell’s songs and explores them through the lens of jazz.
Her voice is undoubtedly a jazz voice, with a limpid surface and a warm timbre – pleasurable to submerge oneself in as she endlessly rephrases the line “When I am laid in earth”.
Around her, a voiceless ensemble (the team from Rawcus) enact the physical symptoms of the love disease: fever, sleeplessness, an uncontrollable urge to smile, soon followed by an uncontrollable urge to cry, or even die.
Hansen accompanies herself skilfully and inventively on double bass, making the instrument a major part of her slow-burning, sometimes tortured meditation on love.
The Danish-born musician has created a remarkable show here, and Chamber Made Opera give it a worthy production, with a warm, elegantly modern set by Emily Barrie and effective direction by Kate Sulan.
This show is part of the short Opera XS season, to be held at the Malthouse through the long weekend, and involving several outfits including Victorian Opera and the Short Black Opera Company run by Deborah Cheetham.