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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

Opera: Troy Boy

Thursday night I caught the Merry Opera's new production of Troy Boy at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. The Merry Opera company takes opera productions and develops new English translations with a twist. It is a great concept, although in this case more abridging of the source material might have helped. I doubt there is much that would be missed from Offenbach's La Belle Hélène (the story of Helen of Troy) if an extra half hour was cut from it.

Nevertheless there is some fine singing and performances in this occasionally sexy production. The energy and enthusiasm of the cast is without a doubt. I liked the concept of Helen stuck in suburbia and beginning to let her mind wander in a Greek restaurant. It  gives this otherwise odd premise some solid grounding. There were (at least on Thursday night) a few creaky moments with furniture bumped and props knocked over, but no doubt these will be ironed out as the run progresses.

And this is such great value for a night out, with tickets from £12. It plays at the Gatehouse until 5 March before touring to various opera pubs and other places. It is nice to see a growing list of opera pub theatre, but the productions work best in these confined spaces when the work is well known, and it is brief.

Boo impressions below...

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