A joyous explosion of tuneful Victorian satire provides an unlikely, yet ideal, contrast to English Touring Opera‘s Tosca as their Patience tours the UK in this finely-cast, period-perfect rendition. Director Liam Steel presides over a vivacious, vigorous production which brims with genuine humour, constantly energised by strong group choreography, a vocally sumptuous chorus, and a cast who can act as well as sing. Timothy Burke, conducting the English Touring Opera Orchestra, gives a light and lyrical account of the score, balancing its mischievous faux-melodrama and moments of military bluster with delightful prettiness. Although plot and lyrics whirl along at significant speed, there are still pockets of sheer, unashamed musicality – Music for Music’s Sake, perhaps? – such as “Prithee, Pretty Maiden (Willow Willow Waly)”, when the only reason that anything so frankly silly should be repeated at any length is simply because it’s set to such a delicate, pleasing tune.
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