OPERA / Seraglio - Volunteer Hall, Galashiels

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The Independent Culture
Whatever you think about style, authenticity, dramatic texture, there is no doubt that Scottish Opera Go Round have a winner on their hands with Mozart's Seraglio. The director, Nick Broadhurst, tends to go for farce and send-up, diverting the audience enormously but confusing the essential contrast between serious and comic characters.

Actually, the balance of abilities in the cast made it a practical decision. Gavin Sayers, as Belmonte, had a nice romantic turn of phrase but little variety, and the Constanze, Kathryn Smith, sounded coarse and hectic in the florid passages, soft-focused elsewhere. Iain Paton as Pedrillo, on the other hand, stocked several shades of quite beautiful tone, and Naomi Itami was an excellent Blonde, with a sweet vocal technique that ran on easy wheels. The long and lean Rene Linnenbank used his ravenous voice to project Osmin as a blustering sergeant-major from It Ain't Half Hot, Mum. Some of the missing seriousness was made up by the actor Simon Hart, an unusually sincere and moving Pasha Selim.

As usual for this company, the rudimentary scenery (designed by Simon Higlett) was exquisite and the piano was deftly played by Nicholas Bosworth.