<< -- 2 -- Mike Wheeler TREMENDOUS ENERGY
Star turn of the evening is Beverly Klein, suitably just a little over-the-top as Madame Odette, owner of the dubious establishment in which Act 2 begins. Robert Burt, as the President's adviser, Ximenes, didn't quite capture the required air of shifty menace. (He was originally conceived as a caricature of Joseph Goebbels, after all.)
With James Holmes conducting, the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North and the team of dancers make their contributions with tremendous energy. I won't spoil the coup de théâtre that opens Act 2, but it's carried off with great gusto by all concerned.
As to the piece itself, it must be said that it's not Weill at his best. There are some effective numbers, but the middle-Europe operetta trappings (the cast, with deliberate incongruity, are dressed in Tyrolean-style costumes) sit uneasily alongside the satire, blunting its edge, and the show doesn't really fulfil the promise of the mock military-march-cum-national-anthem with which it begins.
Good fun and worth seeing, but don't expect your view of Weill to be rounded out to any appreciable extent.
Copyright © 4 May 2006
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK