<<< << -- 4 -- Robert Hugill A SUPERB OUTING
The other great participant in the drama is the chorus, which has a very distinct character and a significant part in the opera. Its members play the villagers and Bellini draws them consistently as rather bigoted, tabloid-reading types. In fact, this aspect of the opera, the suspicion of anything foreign, is one that makes it most contemporary and could lead to some interesting concepts in staging I think.
The substantial Geoffrey Mitchell Choir sang Bellini's music with style and gusto, giving a strong backbone to the ensemble and creating a strong sense of character for the villagers.
Bellini writes for quite a substantial orchestra along with off-stage bands. Under David Parry's expert direction the London Philharmonic Orchestra played with gusto and elan. It was lovely hearing this music so well played by such a substantial body of players, even though it meant that on very rare occasions the soloists were in danger of being overwhelmed.
A scene from Opera Rara's 'La Straniera' at London's Royal Festival Hall on 3 November 2007
This was a superb outing for one of Bellini's rarer, but still interesting operas. Let us hope that the performance might lead someone into deciding to stage it.
Copyright © 10 November 2007
Robert Hugill, London UK