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Showing posts with the label Geraldine Somerville

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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

Digging in: Checkpoint Chana @Finborough

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What do you do when you're a successful poet accused of semitism? How do you avoid the social media storm and the calls for an apology? These are the thoughts that come in Checkpoint Chana by Jeff Page. It's having its premiere at the Finborough Theatre following a reading at Finborough's Vibrant 2017 festival. It starts with Bev (Geraldine Somerville) complaining to her assistant Tasmin (Ulrika Krishnamurti). She has to write an apology  after one of her poems sets off a social media firestorm. It’s been labelled anti-Semitic after every other recent poem of hers has been ignored. The indignity of a respected poet needing to do this is compounded by problems in her personal life and pressure from her university. But she eventually relents to making an apology, and having a sympathetic interview scheduled. She’ll even do a talk at a North London arts centre.  Somerville is convincing as a person caught up in the drama that’s part of their own creation. But often the work s