Escape to the country: Bernstein’s Candide at Iford

This whirling, high-energy collaboration between Iford Arts and Opera Della Luna packs every possible punch in a furiously creative evening of constant costume changes, an endlessly reassembling set, and above all a blazing sense of commitment from Jeff Clarke’s fine cast. Candide’s endless, troubled travels feel like a parable of life itself, as he learns the…

Vivacious, Victorian, and very good fun: Ruddigore, Gilbert & Sullivan, Southgate Opera

We tend to think of Victorian society as morally strict, judgemental, and socially tense: and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore, while confirming all the above, savagely pokes fun at Victorian ideals of social and moral perfection, pushing stereotypes to extremes in order to satirise the question of private and public goodness from all sorts of different…

Fresh, funny, frivolous: Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience from English Touring Opera

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…

Melodic, comic, colonial: Franz von Suppé’s A Trip to Africa

A sense of real excitement surrounded the revival (and UK premiere) of Franz von Suppé’s A Trip to Africa at the Maddermarket Theatre, the culmination of several years of work by conductor Dario Salvi, who found and meticulously researched and restored the score and libretto with his wife Hannah after a 94-year performance hiatus. There…

Batman robbing: Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Fulham Opera

Fulham Opera, noted in recent years for their serious and compelling Wagner and Verdi output, are also not shy of comedy (as demonstrated by their very successful Falstaff). Die Fledermaus is a revenge comedy in the lighter tradition of operetta, and Fulham Opera’s take on Strauss is characteristically skilful, immediate, and musically polished, with minimal…