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.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
Thrill of the chaste: The truth about Gandhi's sex life
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon
Great British Bake Off semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >