music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie based on Belmont und Constanze by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner.

Popup Opera Tour to 25 April 2015.
Runs 2hr One interval.

TICKETS (all venues): www.popupopera.co.uk
Review: William Russell 10 March at Robert Kime London.

Surprising and lovely and jolly.
To launch their new season this enterprising company set-up stage in Robert Kime’s Museum Street shop, an antique dealer of some splendour. It provided a glorious setting for a sparkling and beautifully sung performance of Mozart’s tale of what happens when a young lady and her maid end-up in a harem – for this production, set in the present, it is a health spa – and must be rescued by their lovers.

The company perform all over the place; their other venues look to be equally enterprising. Pop Up’s musical standards are high, while the surtitles by Harry Percival are the icing on the cake. Take the way the Pasha announces to the four lovers that they can leave – “All right, you guys seem legit. You don’t have to die.” It may be irreverent, but it fits the mood of the opera.

Eve Daniell (Konstanze) and Emily Phillips (her maid Blonde) make a gorgeous contrast, one large, one little, while Paul Hopwood is gloriously sonorous as the lovelorn Belmonte, Tom Morss splendidly impish as his valet Pedrillo, while Marcin Gesla suffers valiantly as the put-upon Overseer, Osmin.

The casting of the inches-challenged Morss means that to avoid a Little and Large confrontation they had to find a soprano smaller than he for Blonde, and they did. It was all ever so slightly like an out-take from Miranda given that the other lovers were statuesque.

All sang the big quartet in Act Two with style, and Berrak Dyer, the company’s musical director, played the piano perfectly. All too often pianists thump extravagantly when accompanying singers in fringe venues, but Dyer is a model of restraint.

All in all this is as jolly an evening at the opera as one could hope for, inventively directed by Darren Royston. Apart from making the Pasha a surveillance camera and a talking all-seeing eye, his decision to smuggle Belmonte in to the spa as the back end of a pantomime horse, Pedrillo ridden by Pedrillo, is inspired, as is the use of mobile ’phones by the assorted lovers to declare their devotion.

Konstanze: Eve Daniell.
Belmonte: Paul Hopwood.
Pedrillo: Tom Morss.
Blonde: Emily Phillips.
Osmin: Marcin Gesla.
Pasha Selim: Big Brother, a surveillance camera.

Director: Darren Royston.
Musical Director: Barrak Dyer.

13 Mar 7.30pm Hellens Manor Much Marcle Herefordshire.
14 Mar 7.30pm Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre Taunton 01823 414141 www.tacchi-morris.com
17 Mar 7.30pm The Bull Highgate.
19 Mar 7.30pm Black Swan Yard Bermondsey.
21 Mar 7.30pm Court Gardens Farm Ditchling East Sussex.
26 Mar 7.30pm Dalston Department Store.
2 Apr 7.30pm Regal Theatre Minehead 01643 706430 www.regaltheatre.co.uk
4 Apr Knightor Winery and Restaurant Trethurgy.
10 Apr 7.30pm Preston Court Kent.
12 Apr 5pm Asylum Peckham.
14 Apr 7.30pm Stour Space Hackney Wick.
16, 17 Apr 7.30pm Brunel Museum Thames Tunnel Shaft Rotherhithe.
19 Apr 5pm The Orangery Stoke Rochford Hall Lincolnshire.
21 Apr 7.30pm Capesthorne Hall Cheshire.
22 Apr 8pm Brewery Arts Centre Kendal 01539 725133 www.breweryarts.co.uk
24 Apr 7.30pm Anne of Cleves Barn Great Lodge Essex. 01371 810 776 info@greatlodge.co.uk.
25 Apr7.30pm Court Gardens Farm Ditchling East Sussex.

2015-03-11 16:36:42

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