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<<<  <<  -- 2 --  Mike Wheeler    ITALIANATE SPARKLE


Riccardo Simonetti makes his sprightly, jack-the-lad Belcore believable (in a later life he will be Puccini's Lt Pinkerton), keeping the swagger within credible bounds. As he starts making eyes at Gianetta at the end after admitting defeat over Adina we realise he's not too disappointed (not at all, in fact).

Dulcamara arrives by red and yellow hot-air balloon. Peter Savidge gives him the air of a practised con-man, with his loud check suit (the usual shorthand for 'Don't buy a second-hand car from this man') and commanding presence. He and the orchestra sometimes lose touch with each other, and his patter delivery in ensembles is not always audible. But he generally finds the wit in both music and text, and his interaction with his boy assistant (Aaron Eastwood, already taking the stage like a seasoned pro) is a delight to watch.

Susanna Andersson makes the most of the limited role of Gianetta.

The Chorus of Opera North provides an entertaining crowd of locals, tourists and sailors, their morning-after wooziness at the start of Act 2, scene 2, staying just the right side of caricature. Daniel Slater's production is full of sharply-observed detail and revels in its Mediterranean atmosphere. The orchestra plays with Italianate sparkle, and conductor Tecwyn Evans keeps it all bowling along at a nicely-judged pace. Pretty well everything, in fact, slots together neatly, right down to the fifties magazine-style design of the programme.

Copyright © 27 February 2007 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK



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