The Coliseum came alive with the sound of Mozart and brilliant up and coming singers last Wednesday.
Fiona Shaw with the ENO, bought this effortlessly funny production out of the shadows of the music archives and threw it right into the 21st Century. The revolving stage and chorus members running in and out of different rooms really gave the feel of a busy house hold on Figaro’s wedding day.
For me, the star of the show had to be Countess Almavivia played by Katie Valentine. Recently coming to the fore in ENO’s Young Singers programme, her voice just had that something special and filled the room with tingling sensations. She also played Elizabeth in Elegy for Young Lovers also directed by Shaw. Iain Paterson’s performance as Figaro was also stunning. I really felt the heartache when he thought he was loosing his wife.
There was one thing however, that really does stick in my mind, that is near the end of the second act, when the Count goes to meet Susanna, he doesn’t wear any trousers. He doesn’t seem to find them again for the rest of the performance and decides to keep them off for the bow. Now, I found this rather amusing yet unexpected.
What I love about the ENO is that they are committed to bringing Opera out of rich hands and giving it back anyone who wants the experience. Regardless of your pay check at the end of the month or whether your favourite hang out is the SU bar, ENO believes that if you want to experience opera then you should.
To complement this view they have an Access all Arias scheme where students and 16-30 year olds can join up and get amazing deals on performances, money off programmes and free talks and social events. It is a great scheme and if you can, id join and start getting the benefits straight away here
Do see the last few performances of Marriage of Figaro, it really is a must see. If not, Tosca is coming soon and a fantastic opera in its own right and I’ve no doubt it will be a great performance from the ENO directed by Catherine Malfitano.
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Over and Out!