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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

Fire down below: Hellscreen @VaultFestival @Firehousetweet

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Hellscreen updates Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’ s tale of  creating artistic hell on earth to the London art scene. It is a high concept treatment with film, music and other tricks creating a few chills in the damp and murky space under Waterloo station. However there are so many different theatrical styles and tricks at work here, at times it feels like they get in the way of telling the story rather than making for a truly gripping piece of theatre.

Surprise the (Piccadilly Circus) Circus is in Town

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Today the streets of central London have been taken over by a pop up circus called Piccadilly Circus Circus. From lunchtime today until the finale at 8pm more than 240 international circus artists including aerialists, high wire trapeze artists, hula hoopers, jugglers, stilt acrobats, not so stilted acrobats, tightrope walkers, looserope walkers, acrobats, Chinese pole artists, Polish Chinese artists, aerial dance performers, contemporary clowns, musicians and the like will be around to distract shoppers and force you whip out your camera-phone and experience it all... I caught the opera singers and drummers earlier today but events continue throughout the afternoon. The finale at Piccadilly Circus will be where French artists’ Les Studios de Cirque presents the UK premiere of Place des Anges. The piece is about a renegade group of angels who are drawn down to the Earth, and begin to shed their wings, and their feathers fall on the unsuspecting spectators below… With zip wires stru

Damp June Nights: Liza at the (Hampton Court) Palace

As more than one person noted after Thursday evening's downpour, there was not a dry seat in the house at the end of Liza Minnelli's concert at Hampton Court Palace . Opening the Hampton Court Festival , the steady rain or hour long wait for the train home did not deter fans from jumping to their feet even before she sang. Minnelli being from the old school of singing yourself hoarse does not have much of a high register anymore. While she seems like she sometimes tries to coax some sound out using sheer bloody mindedness, her signature songs don't sound like they used to. Of course her fans probably can't hear like they used to either so that might explained the high ovation quotient from the audience... But it is a shame that she either feels she has to sing them or her fans demand them from her. What is more interesting about her voice now is her incredible lower range. And when she calmed things down and performed songs just with her regular music director Billy

(Silent) Opera: La Boheme

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As part of the Vault Festival , which transforms a series of interconnected tunnels underneath Waterloo Station into something theatrical and fabulous this month, I caught a packed production of La Boheme by Silent Opera with @Johnnyfoxlondon . Like other companies , Silent Opera is about taking operatic masterpieces and adapting them into modern settings. What makes them unique is that they tap into the iPod generation and use headphones to place the performers and the music in real life and odd spaces. The former National Rail plans and drawings archive must fit the latter. With a mix of levels, false ceilings, grimy floors and porta-loos, it is a far cry from the Royal Opera.