Choice: Opera: Paul Bunyan, Shaftesbury Theatre

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Paul Bunyan, Shaftesbury Theatre, London

With two country and western numbers, a lumberjack song, text by WH Auden and music by Benjamin Britten, this could be described as a prime example of Oklahomosexuality. Not that this should deter anybody. A rarely heard cross between an opera and a musical, it's extraordinarily appealing. Written around the time of the astonishing Hymn to Saint Cecilia and two years before Peter Grimes, it has roles for trees and geese and a trio for a dog and two cats. It's something like an operetta about pioneer spirit and the great outdoors, if you can imagine such a thing. Two years before Rodgers and Hammerstein hit Broadway, some of the music has an Oklahoma tinge, but there's also a Gilbert and Sullivan parody and shades of Kurt Weill. Francesca Zambello directs and Richard Hickox conducts this Royal Opera premiere production.