Vert-Vert, Garsington Opera, review: 'Exuberant virtuosity takes the breath away'
Monday 09 June 2014
Most forgotten operas are forgotten with good reason, but the Offenbach operetta which conductor David Parry has exhumed for Garsington is a delightful discovery.
Thanks to a talented group of young singer-actors under Martin Duncan’s G&S-style direction, its UK premiere has irresistible charm, with the music flowing like champagne and laughs coming thick and fast. Vert-Vert is an ex-parrot whose funeral opens the drama; this turns on a series of clandestine marriages plus sundry seductions.
It begins in a convent where the pupils are not the only characters on heat. The dashing young dragoons (Quirijn de Lang and Andrew Glover) who climb in over the wall to keep their assignations are complemented by a maturer pair (assistant headmistress Yvonne Howard and dancing master Geoffrey Dolton) whose furtive couplings provide constant comedy; Robert Murray’s mellifluous Valentin – persuaded to replace the parrot as singer-in-chief – gets the best songs and also the loveliest girl in the form of Mimi, sung with ineffable grace by Fflur Wyn.
The Second Empire frivolity of Francis O’Connor’s designs, which capitalise on the theatre’s leafy setting, is enhanced by some of the most brilliant movement-direction I have ever seen; Dolton’s exuberant song-and-dance virtuosity takes the breath away.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after Wembley Stadium rant
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Taylor Swift banned from Triple J Hottest 100: Fans react to epic #Tay4Hottest100 defeat
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks