I’ve never been one for opera. With the options of theatre, dance or live music often on the table in London, opera always settled at the bottom of the list. But when Rémi returned from the English National Opera’s Madame Butterfly full of praises, I knew I had to give it a shot. At university, many of my friends participated in the opera societies and I was always astounded by the maturity of their voices at such a young age, so to enjoy opera from the professionals was a completely new experience and one that I would highly recommend if you have not yet tested those choral waters.
This will not be a long post, the light is already fading (at 4.20pm… despite Autumn’s best efforts, Winter is coming), and there is much left to do with the day, but suffice to say this is a brilliant production that is running until 23rd November so there is plenty of time to book a seat and enjoy it for your fine selves! Rémi and I made our way to the delightfully grand London Coliseum just over a week ago and had a marvellous time!
First, a teaser from the ENO:
I KNOW. There is a revolving stage. This is far from the snore-fest production that I (wrongly) expected. In fact, The Marriage of Figaro is a hilarious experience! Full of deception, mistaken identity, humour and lust, ENO’s take on the opera (performed in English with handy surtitles) is bound to make you giggle, if not guffaw, as the plot, driven by sexual intrigue and filled with unexpected twists, unveils in the labyrinthine rotating set.
Despite its whopping 3hr 20min running time (with only one interval), I was completely transfixed by each cast member’s talent and energy that positively radiated from the stage. Putting their phenomenal voices aside, they all seemed to be having a riotous time on stage, which made the performance all the more enjoyable. The plot is described as follows:
Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro whisks us through the events of one crazy day as Figaro, the Count’s valet, tries to wed Susanna, the Countess’s maid, before their philandering master can bed her first.
Filled with Mozart’s glorious music, The Marriage of Figaro is widely regarded to be one of the greatest comic operas ever written. Fiona Shaw’s buzzing production sees its plot of sexual intrigue, mistaken identities and unexpected revelations unravel with clock-like precision within the confines of a maze-like household in which the servants are perfectly capable of thwarting their masters at every time.
As I have openly admitted that this was my first-time professional opera experience, I have no comparable comic operas to support this as an accurate judgement, but I can safely say that this made for a hilariously sophisticated Saturday night out. The true success was the production’s accessibility for all audiences – from opera-newbies to patrons. There was never a moment where I lost the story or became confused by the Shakespearian-esque twists and revelations, despite their abundance! I left the beautiful London Coliseum feeling thoroughly entertained and eager to explore this often overlooked form of art.
There are 6 performances remaining so if you have a free evening and have been convinced by my experience, I would hop to it and book tickets here right away.
Have a good week everyone!
All photos courtesy of the ENO website.