Monday 11 April 2005

On the Town?

We went to see the new production of On the Town at the London Coliseum on Friday. I've no problem with opera companies doing musicals per se, but too often some sort of clash of cultures means that the productions don't work. That it can work is shown by Grange Park Opera, who have been successfully producing musicals and operettas alongside grand opera ever since they were founded. Part of the Grange Park magic though, is that the theatre is small enough for them to perform without the aid of microphones

In a theatre the size of the Coliseum, microphones are inevitable in a musical. I must confess that I found rather disturbing the contrast between the amplified singing voices of the actors and the more regular sound of the chorus. Grand though it was to hear the score well played and sung by the ENO chorus and orchestra, the production did not quite fully integrate the actors and the opera singers

The size young singers in the lead roles worked very hard and were pretty talented in an all round way, but none had the sheer charisma to capture one's heart. And Jude Kelly's production seemed to be working a little to hard at generating energy and filling the stage; sometimes less really is more.

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