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<<  -- 2 --  Roderic Dunnett    GETTING THE BIRD


With no Arts Council subsidy (or strings) and just a few far-sighted sponsors, Longborough seems to be getting everything right. If you want to penguin up, you do; but nobody bats an eyelid at Glastonbury gear and trainers.

Longborough Festival Opera 2000. Siegfried. Pauline Birchall as Erda and Brian Bannatyne Scott as Wotan.

Negus's driving, responsive conducting - he was a Goodall aide and protégé - revealed just how spectacularly the Jonathan Dove compaction of the score comes off. There was the odd irritating glitch : solo horn - glorious, solo trumpet - best not say. The strings, including solos, played like the Berlin Phil. Bass clarinet and cor anglais bewitched; one baton-passing from clarinet to flute was pure heaven.

Longborough Festival Opera 2000. Siegfried. Siegfried (Matthew Elton Thomas) with the dragon.

Everything onstage equalled it. Laura Smith's colour-crammed back-projections, with captions ribboning up the side, are now fully-fledged and better-timed. From the skilfully designed shambles of Mime's forge to the sunlit, thorny forest of Woodbird and Dragon to Berchtesgaden snowscape for Act III‚ each succeeded in crystallising the spirit of Wagner's original. Guy Hoare's lighting was an asset : artful low lighting for Mime's den; a pair of crossed spots for Wotan faced with the grim moment of reckoning. Nothing seemed misjudged (unlike Longborough's far less honed co-production of Figaro ).

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Copyright © 27 August 2000 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK




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