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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

Sing like nobody’s watching: Songs for Nobodies @WiltonMusicHall

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Songs for Nobodies starts as if it is a theatrical happening. There’s a hush at Wilton’s Music Hall as it descends into darkness. And when the lights go up there is a small, middle aged woman on stage looking somewhat meek. But soon there is an astounding transformation as she channels a range of musical greats. Mimicking their style and intonation. Starting with Judy Garland, then Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday and finally Maria Callas. It’s thrilling and bewildering.  The piece is billed as a play with music by Joanna Murray-Smith, created to suit the vocal talents of Australian singer Bernadette Robinson. The premise is that a series of “nobodies” whose lives briefly intersect with these stars. There’s the lady, Beatrice who fixes Judy Garland’s hem and the usher Pearl who becomes backup to Patsy Cline and so on.  It’s clear that Robinson has a unique talent and she holds your attention. And the production shines in Wilton’s music hall.  The faded grandeur of the venue ble