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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

Concert: Deborah Voigt



Messing about on the river aside, Saturday night provided the opportunity to see Deborah Voigt in recital at the Barbican. It was the first time she had performed in London since being dumped from a Royal Opera production for being too fat to fit into the costumes. She acknowledged during an encore that she was a little bit nervous about coming back. The audience broke into applause at this point. All seemed forgiven on both sides.

Well perhaps London hasn't forgiven her entirely since the Barbican Hall wasn't exactly full. But her absence and the lack of a full house is London's loss. Now a few years later she has slimmed down (thanks to much publicised surgery) and sounding great. Tonight's concert was a marvelous programme with songs by Mozart, Verdi and Strauss in the first half and then American composers Beach and Bernstein in the second. This gave her the opportunity to cut loose a bit. For an encore she even tackled Berlin's "I Love a Piano" before sitting down with her accompanist Brian Zeger to help belt out the melody. It bought the house down.

It's great to see one of the leading dramatic sopranos show a bit of their own personality in recitals... She will be appearing at the Royal Opera House next season. Here's hoping we can see her in concert again soon too... The concert was something everyone in the hall wanted to hear again...

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