S&H Opera review
ujiimimangalisco the mysteries carmen Broomhill
Opera. Wilton's Music Hall, London. 7 & 8 June 2001 (PGW)
It has been a privilege to follow the growth and development of Broomhill Opera since it had its home near Tunbridge Wells. The current double bill is one of their greatest triumphs, an inspired and inspiring collaboration with South Africans of multiple ethnic background who had never been out of their own country.
The Mysteries is a collective creation built up in a workshop situation, taking biblical stories from Adam & Eve to Christ's resurrection. It is always inventive, with minimal props and using instruments found in scrapyards, funny, moving, and heart stopping by turns, with wonderful teamwork and individual cameos. The music is from all the vocal traditions to be found in South Africa, delivery in the performers' mother tongues including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa & Zulu.
Carmen was the most involving recreation of that opera you'll ever encounter. Searing performances by Paukine Malefane & Luzuko Mahlaba [PICT], the two fated protagonists, strong support all round. The small stage band, directed with sharp authority by Charles Hazlewood, left no regrets for the lack of the resources of a large opera house.
Broomhill Opera goes from strength to strength and this may prove one of the most memorable and talked about theatrical events of 2001.
Previous Broomhill Opera reports on Seen&Heard:
http://musicweb-international.com/SandH/2000/oct00/turk.htm (ENO production AW)
Il Turco in Italia - 'a sophisticated chamber opera', 'an elegant, ambiguous somewhat cynical comedy' was staged as such by Broomhill Opera at Horsham in Sussex under the direction of Simon Callow in 1997, and that production is fondly remembered for its integrity and its ingenious and inventive triumph over financial constraints.
There was a memorable previous production of The Turn of the Screw by Broomhill Opera (October 1996) in the eponymous Broomhill, the company's first home at an estate full of follies near Tunbridge Wells, which boasted a perfect opera theatre and a water tower where the ghost of Peter Quint might well appear. The conductor, then as now, was Charles Hazlewood. Under his guidance at Wilton's Music Hall, the youthful instrumental ensemble presented the score with confidence; one felt that for Hazelwood this is a very special opera.
Peter Grahame Woolf
the mysteries & carmen are in repertory until 29 June email@example.com
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