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Belters and bohemians: Opera Locos @Sadlers_wells

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

Theatre: Coram Boy

I overheard one woman leaving the theatre tonight complaining that she had just seen a three hour epic about infanticide and pedophilia. Well that was partly what Coram Boy is about. It is based on a bestselling (and award-winning) novel set in the eighteenth century.

It starts out telling the tale of a man who for a fee takes away unwanted babies and promises to take them the Foundling Hospital. It becomes quickly evident that he is working for his own profit. Soon little graves are found everywhere...

There begins an epic tale full of spectacle and the music of Handel. Even with a dark tale as this, there is a lot to enjoy over the three hours and it is not surprising both of its runs have been sellouts (and popular with young people).

The music of Handel (and additional music in the style of Handel) underscores the drama and it helps overlook some of the more convenient turns in the plot. In a way it was a shame that more music wasn't used.

What is particularly interesting is the backstory about the Foundling Hospital, its connection to Handel and the relevance a story about people trafficking has in modern London.

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