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Belters and bohemians: Opera Locos @Sadlers_wells

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At the start of the Opera Locos performance, the announcement says that they really are singing. You could be forgiven for wondering that, given the amplification turns up the backing track and the voices so loud that you can't always tell what's real. But this is a mostly harmless and slightly eccentric blend of opera classics fused with the occasional pop classic. However, recognising the pop tunes would help if you were over a certain age. The most recent of them dates back twenty years. It's currently playing at the Peacock Theatre .  Five performers play out a variety of archetype opera characters. There's the worn-out tenor (Jesús Álvarez), the macho baritone (Enrique Sánchez-Ramos), the eccentric counter-tenor (Michaël Kone), the dreamy soprano (María Rey-Joly) and the wild mezzo-soprano (Mayca Teba). Since my singing days, I haven't recognised these types of performers. However, once, I recall a conductor saying he wanted no mezzo-sopranos singing with the s

Movie: Superman Returns


Ok it isn't a photo of mine, but there has been a bit of chatter on cyberspace about the rather phallic looking Florida peninsula that is prominently on display. I'm not so sure about that, but the religious overtones of the poster as well give you an idea about the film as well (which has also been dubbed as "the Passion of the Clark").

But anyway is Superman Returns a good film? Well after seeing an IMAX presentation of it, I thought it was great fun and had an interesting story to kickstart a new series of films. Of course seeing it in IMAX means that you feel like you are in the film at points, and it is loud, very loud at times. The latter is a good thing as it drowned out my exclamations of "Jezusfuckingchrist!" when it was all getting a bit too much (so the family audiences around me were none the wiser).

Being a bit of a devotee to the first two Superman films I could appreciate many of the in-jokes to the film, such as when Lex Luthor steals Kryptonite it was labelled as being found in Addis Ababa in 1978 (the year of the first film and a direct reference within it). The first two films were such great fun in the post-Watergate era. This movie with its relentless religious overtones must suggest something about the era we are living in now. Of course with Brandon Routh in a rather spiffy new costume, some pretty impressive effects and that familiar rousing score, there were plenty of distractions to avoid the religious analogies, even for a Sunday… Comic book stories seem to take themselves a bit too seriously for pop culture anyway so I guess you have to put up with this with your summer escapism...

There was an additional feature of the IMAX presentation that I was unaware of and that was four sequences were in 3D. 3D IMAX is a really dumb thing and you have to put glasses on which suck outs the colour and gives a false depth of field to everything. I don't quite understand the point of this but it no doubt contributed to the reason why the punters were flocking to see it in IMAX, given the screenings today were all sold out. As there were only four scenes you had to rummage for your specs when the icon of Clark's glasses flashed green at the bottom of the screen and then take them off when they flashed red. Oh well, I guess even blockbuster summer films have gotta have a gimmick…

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