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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

Opera: Parsifal



Wednesday night was an opportunity to catch the ENO's Parsifal. This 1999 co-production with San Francisco Opera and Lyric Opera, Chicago and is purportedly the last time it will be staged. There are seven more performances to go.

Directed by Nikolaus Lehnhoff, What makes the opera a standout is the brilliant staging and imaginative English translation. This translation transforms this production and keeps things moving at such a pace you won't realise you have been there for over four hours. On top of this there is such spectacle at times it is almost hypnotic.

A stunning cast includes John Tomlinson as Gurnemanz, Australian tenor Stuart Skelton as Parsifal and Jane Dutton as Kundry. Mark Wigglesworth conducts.

Wagner is still an acquired taste, but this probably goes some way to make this work accesible (and palatable). Leave work early and go. There are greater powers at stake.

Initial 'boo raves and reactions as follows:
Listen!

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