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Opera Gala

by on 26 October 2020

Bouquet of Roses

Opera Gala

Rose Opera at Normansfield Theatre, Teddington, 25th October

Review by Helen Astrid

Not having been to an opera this year since Fidelio at the Royal Opera House in March BC (before-Covid), it was a joy to attend Rose Opera’s Opera Gala at the Normansfield Theatre in Teddington.  It was a very welcome evening indeed!

With appropriately stringent anti-Covid measures in place, the audience as well as the performers were socially-distanced giving us the assurance that health and safety were of paramount importance.

A programme of operatic arias, duets, trios and chorus ensemble (clad in sparkly-designer-esque face masks), we heard some familiar and some not so well-known pieces offering a carefully chosen selection.  Bravi to all concerned .

The evening opened with an all-time favourite; Mozart’s tranquil trio from Così fan Tutte, ably sung by Helen Bailey (Fiordiligi), Anna Marie Mclachlan (Dorabella) and Crispin Lewis (Alfonso).  We later heard Helen sing Mimi’s aria Donde lieta usci from Puccini’s La Bohème with clarity and stylistic verve.  Ian Helm showed promise in the Russian repertoire singing Prince Yeletsky’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades: most definitely a genre for him to explore.

It is hard to imagine Wagner as being jolly and uplifting’ but in the excerpt from Der fliegende Höllander,the Spinning Chorus, brought some welcome light-relief in this opera, which belongs to his middle romantic period.  Tamara Ravenhill’s rendition of Senta’s Ballade was sung with warmth and beauty of tone, her voice soaring effortlessly.  Credit must also go to Lorna Jan Perry who displayed some special vocal qualities throughout the evening.

Così fan Tutte

The sextet from Mozart’s Così fan tutte was especially delightful with the two heroes, Guglielmo (Ian Helm) and Ferrando (Andy Evans), as the potential suitors, donning gold bomber-jackets, baseball caps and shades.  Hilarious!

Idomeneo, 2019

Another Mozart moment, though not of the humorous variety, was Placido è il mare from Mozart’s opera-seria Idomeneo, beautifully sung by the chorus, and conducted by Benedict Collins Rice with piano accompaniment by Andrew Robinson.

No gala would be complete without the famous trio from Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, a fiendish and challenging piece for any singer.  Here, the voices interweaved confidently with hints of the Presentation of the Rose theme throughout. 

Iolanta, 2019

More Tchaikovsky for the finale, when Tamara Ravenhill came into her own as the blind princess in a duet from Iolanta, his one-act lyric opera.  A second and fitting reference to flowers namely roses, during this gala performance; an apt choice for Rose Opera!

Helen Astrid, October 2020

Photography by Tom Medwell

From → Rose Opera

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