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Profoundly Moving

Bellini's 'I Capuletti e I Montecchi',
enjoyed by ROBERT HUGILL


After the main season finishes at Northington Grange, Grange Park Opera decamps to Leicestershire to perform a short season at Nevill Holt, David Ross's historic mansion. Here the group performs in a semi-permanent structure which has been inserted into the courtyard of the historic stables. The auditorium seats around three hundred people.

The Nevill Holt season started on Friday 6 July 2007 with Bellini's I Capuletti e I Montecchi. Grange Park Opera first produced this opera in 2001 in a production by Dominic Cooke with Emma Bell and Susan Bickley in the leading roles. This production was designed for the old, smaller theatre at Northington Grange so that it was eminently suitable for revival on Nevill Holt's stage.

For these performances Ptolomy Christie revived Dominic Cooke's production, with Sinead Campbell and Hannah Pedley in the leading roles. Campbell and Pedley are members of the Nevill Holt Rising Stars, a group whereby Grange Park Opera gives opportunities to opera singers at the very beginning of their career. Grange Park Opera has found some very exciting new singers in the past, singers such as Emma Bell gained experience at Grange Park early in their careers. Judging by the high standard of the young singers in I Capuletti e I Montecchi we should definitely be hearing of them again.

In an opera about youthful passion and young love, it is helpful to have young singers in the role. The hardest job probably went to Owen Gilhooly as Capellio, as he has to impersonate the maturity and power which comes with age. Gilhooly has an impressive stage presence and was a dominating personality as Capellio. Unfortunately this came at a price, as Gilhooly's voice seemed to have a worryingly excessive vibrato.

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Copyright © 12 July 2007 Robert Hugill, London UK


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