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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: The Minotaur

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I caught the last night of the Harrison Birtwistles's new opera The Minotaur on Saturday at The Royal Opera . It is a thrilling and slightly disturbing opera (not to mention bloody too). Mind you, before the interval an elderly couple walked out. Maybe all that blood and rape and horror and gore was a bit too much for them. But that's new opera for you... At times I was wondering whether I was watching a high culture horror show (although I could have done with more blood and more realistic killings if that was the case). The first appearance of the Minotaur (played by John Tomlinson ) was a pretty dramatic moment and for nearly three hours the show didn't let up. Still, there is a lot to like about this opera starting with the music . The production design and the costumes - particularly the bulls head - were particularly creepy. The final battle sequence (depicted above) literally had everyone in my section on the edge of their seats (although that was party due to the