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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

Theatre: The Year Of Magical Thinking

Saturday night I finally caught up with The Year of Magical Thinking which has been playing since April at the National Theatre. Featuring Vanessa Redgrave on a chair, it tells the story of American author Joan Didion and how over a year she lost both her husband and her daughter and the process she went through in dealing with it (or more to the point not dealing with it). The play is based on her book however it exapnds the story to include the loss of her daughter as well. There is such a frank honesty to this story that even with the subject matter you can't help but be drawn into it. Perhaps it is the way it constantly asks the audience to reflect on this story as it will happen to all of us: the details will be different but the end result is the same. It was certainly was a novel way of reminding us all about our own mortality and how dealing with it is part of life. Perhaps the subject matter (people die), the fact that it was the bank holiday weekend and people may not