Saturday 10 November 2007

Something to look forward to

We've just booked tickets for Opera North's London visit in February 2008 when they are bringing Peter Grimes (with Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts in the title role) and Pinocchio, the new opera by Jonathan Dove and Alastair Middleton. Dove and Middleton were responsible for the wonderful not-quite-opera that was the Christmas show at the Young Vic last year and I look forward to Pinocchio enormously.

The performances take place at Sadlers Wells and also there in June are a pair of semi-staged performances of Vaughan Williams's opera The Pilgrims Progress. This is sad in some ways as the presence of the opera at Sadlers Wells in semi-staged version almost certainly means that no-one is doing a fully staged version in London for the anniversary year. I have not heard whether ENO are reviving their production of Sir John in Love, but it would seem criminal for them not to bring it back in the autumn.

For the June performances of The Pilgrims Progress, Richard Hickox will be conducting a very fine cast including Roderick Williams as the Pilgrim, Neal Davies as Bunyan with Sarah Tynan, Pamel Helen Stephen, Timothy Robinson, James Gilchrist, Robert Hayward and Graeme Danby in the cast.

Oh, that's of course another reason why people don't perform the opera, it requires a large cast plus a good chorus. In fact, the only time I have seen it staged was at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1992, directed by Joseph Ward (who sang Lord Lechery in the premiere. This performance had Stephen Wallace, in drag, as Madam Bubble (he went on to play the Fairy Queen, in drag, for Grange Park Opera); Jeffery Lloyd-Roberts in a number of tenor roles, Henry Waddington as Pontius Pilate and even Alice Coote as an Angel of the Lord.

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