Cultures clash in this powerfully discordant retelling of the Medea story at the Jazz Bar. Just as the wild Colchis of Medea – one of mythology's most famously violent mothers – cannot be reconciled with the staid, harmonious Greece of her faithless lover Jason, so too do jazz and opera – the two musical styles chosen to represent Medea's inward struggle – struggle and meld to create a compelling, if challenging, musical experience.
The slightly ‘jazzier’ first half of Medea's story is composed by Edinburgh PhD composer Kostas Rekleitis. Dissonant and disturbing – sung with matriarchal gravitas (with the occasional cabaret inflection) by soprano Christina Dunwoodie , Act I is a demanding piece of work: a haunting score that, like Medea herself, defies easy categorisation. Somewhat less violent, though equally compelling, is Act II, composed by Derek Williams, a more operatic approach to the subject matter that allows Dunwoodie to make the most of her powerhouse voice.
In both halves of the performance, the music is hardly hummable background fare. Rather, it evokes a wider disunity – a fundamental brokenness – that characterises Medea's experience of loss, and her ultimate, perhaps inexplicable, decision to murder her children. All in all, Medea proved a strong, if not always simple, experience.