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<<  -- 2 --  Roderic Dunnett    VERGING ON LONDON STANDARDS

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True, I didn't find the same clarity or inspiration in the Brazilian director Cleber Papa's handling of his cast. But what you always get with Dorset, as with Stowe, is an intelligent, well-informed approach to opera. And the fifty-strong chorus this year -- something on which Dorset justly prides itself -- was superb.

Norma (Karine Babajanyan, centre) and Oroveso (Michail Milanov, right) with the fine Dorset Opera Chorus in 'Norma'. Photo : Ikon Studios, Sherborne
Norma (Karine Babajanyan, centre) and Oroveso (Michail Milanov, right) with the fine Dorset Opera Chorus in 'Norma'. Photo : Ikon Studios, Sherborne

Norma contains a fair amount of Druid hubbub, much of it impressively scored. Sadly, one victim this year was Dorset's generally impressive bass, Michail Milanov (Banquo in last year's Macbeth), singing Norma's father, Oroveso. Milanov at his best -- witness his Spanish potentate oppressing Neapolitan revolutionaries (and his own daughter) in Salvator Rosa -- has considerable stage authority. Somehow Papa's direction, which had him lumbering round the stage much of the time wielding a vacuous staff of office, failed to capitalise on this; several of his better outbursts were drowned either visually, or aurally, or both; occasionally when he could be heard, he seemed awkwardly -- and uncharacteristically -- off note.

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Copyright © 1 December 2002 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

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