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British Youth Opera’s La rondine Photo: Clive Barda Puccini’s La rondine, which opened on 5 response should have had more impact. enged couples from Nicky Spence and Colette September at the Peacock Theatre, evokes the As the second couple, the poet Prunier and Boushell, Aaron Alphonsus McAuley and demi-monde of 19th century France, and the Magda’s maid Lisette, Thomas Herford and Charlotte Stephenson, and from Emma Carr- swallow of its title is Magda, mistress of the Sadhbh Dennedy created a more deeply felt ington a telling cameo of the older woman rich Rambaldo, who flies away with a penni- relationship and sang with warmth and charm. searching for new love. Bridget Kimak’s clear- less younger lover, Ruggero. Needless to say it Jonathan Sells, impressed as the supercilious cut designs supplied the sparing background all goes pear-shaped when she realises she can Rambaldo. to this perceptive production, purposefully never be accepted into a respectable bourgeois Leaping forward to the 20th century, conducted by Nicholas Cleobury. family. The first two acts, in Magda’s salon and Jonathan Dove’s Flight, given on 6 September, MARGARET DAVIES Bullier’s nightclub, are richly melodic and the is inspired by the true story of a refugee action full of incident, though as performed in stranded without papers in Charles de Gaulle Royal Opera’s Don Giovanni a reduced orchestration by the Southbank airport where, in April de Angelis’s libretto, his Season Opener Sinfonia under Peter Robinson their full pot- personal tragedy impinges on the lives of ential was diminished. Also the fussy prod- travelers thrown together overnight when pening nights of a new Season at the uction, in his own set designs, by John Lloyd Davies implied a lack of faith in the score to flights are cancelled by electrical storms. There is also electricity in the relationships between O Royal Opera House always stirs feelings of excitement and anticipation. This was true make its effects. the passengers and the crew members, grad- on 8 September for the third revival from 2002 In the title role, Meeta Raval displayed an ually diffused in the course of various encoun- of Francesco Zambello’s production of Mozart’s exuberant personality and her soprano proj- ters involving the Refugee, developed in Dove’s Don Giovanni. In association with the Sun ected strongly, but her characterisation lacked gripping score. newspaper, the Helen Hamlyn Foundation emotional depth. She rather swamped Telman There are rewarding roles for the singers, sponsored low cost tickets for the newspaper’s Guzhevsky’s portrayal of Ruggero; he started headed by the all-powerful Controller perched readers in their continuing effort to expose edgily, his tenor not fully controlled, but sang high over the scene, in a musically dominant opera to more diverse audiences. The 2,200 ardently once settled in without managing to performance of the stratospheric vocal line by Sun readers who attended were enthusiastic in float notes softly in his duets with Magda. Verity Parker, and the Refugee, hauntingly sung their enjoyment partnered by quiet attentive- Their joint inexperience no doubt let down by the counter-tenor Andrew Radley. The ness. No mobiles ringing and no coughing. Is their acting in the third act where Magda’s director Martin Lloyd-Evans also obtained it only regular opera goers who feel the need to
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