Saffron Hall, East Anglia’s brightest new star venue on the classical music horizon, is moving with confidence into direct competition with Snape Maltings. Their first fully staged opera, English Touring Opera’s clear and compelling Ulysses’ Homecoming, marked a development from the Saffron Opera Group’s previous concert performances of Das Rheingold and Die Walküre; and, with the Old Street Band in the pit and takis‘ elegant scenery filling the stage, ETO’s fine cast and Saffron Hall’s lovely acoustics did full justice to Monteverdi. Click here to read my full review on Bachtrack.
This is an exciting development for opera audiences in the East of England: no longer is our choice simply the chilly selfconscious aestheticism of Snape, the rare blooms of opera in Norwich (where the Glyndebourne tour, and sometimes ETO too, reaches the Theatre Royal) or the depressingly clinical West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge, which does the job perfectly adequately but never inspires much sense of occasion with its drab lack of all creature comforts. Saffron Hall’s smartly spruced up and polished interior, the warm welcome always extended from its army of friendly volunteer stewards, combined with a superb acoustic and genuinely comfortable seats, could make it the premier opera destination of East Anglia, if opera maintains its place on their intriguingly varied programme.