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.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'