WHEN THE CHATEAU’S BARN BECAME SHAMELESS
The Barn at the Château du Saillant, which on the previous evening had hosted Die Entführung aus dem Serail, must have blushed more than once during the performance of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus,as the libretto is based on the shameful immorality of the High Society at the end of the 19th century in Europe. However, everything was perfectly decent since the company giving the performance was Diva Opera.
The director Cameron Menzies followed the libretto to the letter, knowing he could count on his cast’s infallible theatrical commitment to the work and also on the talent of Bryan Evans at the piano, the musical director of the operetta which will long be remembered at Le Saillant.
Eleven artists came together to present a masterpiece of a genre which is, alas, much neglected these days in French theatres. Even down to the slightest raising of an eyebrow, these singers are also first rate actors. The close proximity of the audience leaves no room for fault. In the role of Alfred, the unfortunate man who, because of his love for Rosalinde, ends up going to prison in place of her husband, Robyn Lyn Evans sings his heart out “adorning” his role with extracts from Turandot, Rigoletto, Traviataand other bits of Italian opera. His beautiful resonant tone immediately won over the audience. Soprano Sofia Troncoso amazed us as Adèle, with her excellent acting and voice without parallell, displaying a beautiful round and luminous soprano. Elizabeth Karani masters the role of the formidable Rosalinde to perfection, with a charming sound and a stunning Czardas. Adam Gilbert’s Gabriel is strong theatrically, hilarious as the bogus lawyer and a more than convincing tenor. The powerful and ultra resonant baritone of Timothy Nelson made light work of the role of Falke. This singer is destined for bigger roles… Martin Lamb played Frank straight-forwardly and with much experience. Louise Mott slips without difficulty into the role of Prince Orlofsky. The enraged Matthew Hargreaves (Osmin the previous night) drops his oriental costume and dons with aplomb that of the drunken prison warden Frosch.
There were numerous curtain calls for this high class performance, reminding us of the professionalism of this company and prooving that one does not need stratospheric budgets to bring opera to the heart of the masses.
Robert Pénavayre. Article put online 18 August 2018