The Merry Widow, Lowry, Salford
Monday 15 November 2010
By the end of Opera North's new production of Franz Lehár's operetta The Merry Widow not only has the future of the fragile Pontevedrian economy been assured but the show has finally ignited after a cool start.
We're promised Parisian sensuality and Viennese sophistication, but instead, cast into the Stygian gloom of the Lowry's Lyric Theatre, the show lacks intimacy and charm, thanks to the rather leaden interpretation by director Giles Havergal.
Another problem is that the one-set-fits-all design – dominated by Belle Epoque statues of scantily clad women as light fixtures with black flats bearing images of white chandeliers – conveys little in the way of a glamorous atmosphere. It makes no distinction between the Pontevedrian embassy in Paris and the widow Hanna Glawari's home, though at least the voices are audible by this stage. And apart from a predictable joke about bankers and a few cheeky rhymes ("tinsel starlet" with "harlot" among the best), Kit Hesketh-Harvey's new translation is light on puns and innuendo.
But if the production is slow to warm up dramatically, it is musically more striking. Sparkling in voice and costume, Stephanie Corley makes a delightful widow Glawari, a feisty Yorkshire lass who not only ensures that her fabulous wealth will pass to Pontevedro but also gets her man. He is less of a catch here, as William Dazeley portrays Count Danilo as a bit of a buffoon, low on rakish charisma but mostly sung with authority. Geoffrey Dolton makes an engaging Baron, Amy Freston is an effervescent Valencienne and Allan Clayton's passionate lyric tenor lifts the role of her lover, Camille, to a new level.
Conductor Wyn Davies brings out the detail in each of the operetta's colourful standards, scenes and finales, the orchestra particularly attractive in the shimmering accompaniment to an appropriately subtle "Vilja" song.
filmNymphomaniac is more Carl Dreyer than sexploitation of Russ Meyer
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
scienceScientists find the answer to a question that even puzzled Darwin
arts + entsThe 'Friends' actor on his new role as campaigner on addiction issues
Geoffrey Macnab: The Wolf of Wall Street's account of white-collar excess is A Rake’s Progress on steroids
scienceThe new development in bio-printing technology could be used in the future to restore lost vision - though years of research still await
architectureThe design collective which has stuck two fingers up at the modernists will call it quits at Venice
... But if you’re one of those poor souls offended by Jennifer Lopez’s choice of leotard, Grace Dent want you to get a bloody grip
Arts & Ents blogs
Brian Griffin returns: Cartoon dog back from the dead in Family Guy Christmas episode
Matthew Perry: He'll be there for you
Film review: Bondage, surreal interracial sex and numerous sexual encounters, but Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac is more Carl Dreyer than Russ Meyer
FAT’s all folks: Architecture’s biggest jokers sign off in style
Shia LaBeouf apologises for plagiarising cartoonist's story for Cannes short film
- 1 Facebook 'self-censorship': study records when you don't post to find more ways to share
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 British prisoner Dr Abbas Khan found dead in Syrian jail days before he was due to be handed over to MP George Galloway
- 4 Vitamin pills are a waste of money, offer no health benefits and could be harmful - study
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >