Classical Music: Live Review/ Castleward Opera Northern Ireland
Friday 14 June 1996
It was done quite wittily, with the comedians suddenly throwing open shutters in unexpected places or stripping down to bathing suits to put the Naxos beach to good use. But it killed the sublime high art of the last half-hour or so - after Bacchus' arrival - stone-dead. We were left with a very boring scene indeed, not helped by a less than perfect orchestral rendition (under Valentin Reymond) and - far worse - Virginia Kerr's appalling diction as Ariadne. The star of the evening, as so often, was the Zerbinetta, sung by the very promising young Susannah Waters. In her fiendishly difficult aria, "Grossmachtige Prinzessin", she scarcely showed any sign of strain, even when (occasionally) singing on her back. Small and agile, she is also a good comic actress.
Designer Keith Gray deserves a mention: he not only adroitly created a convincing trompe-l'oeil set, but also achieved an impressive coup de theatre for Bacchus' entrance by having the set divide to allow the god through.
This year's second offering, Puccini's La Boheme, was on surer ground, although I have never seen quite so small a Cafe Momus. (Still, they did get almost everyone on stage, even the children; only the band was left to our imagination.) Tom Hawkes's directorial hand was a little too light at times, but the main characters were largely convincing, Mark Luther as Rodolfo in particular: here, for once, was a tenor who really did seem interested in his Mimi (Fiona O'Neill, who also sang well), although he should work a little more on volume control: singing everything at the same level tends to get boring.
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 Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
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
V&A removes depiction of Prophet Mohamed from website amid 'severe security alert'
Game of Thrones season 5: IMAX releases new trailer with first look footage of Tyrion Lannister
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