Tuesday, May 20, 2014
A lonely pig looking for love, a chorus of frogs and some barber shop cows are among the zany characters set to take to the Norwich Playhouse stage this week.
Arts correspondent Emma Knights finds out more about the show Gloria - A Pigtale from director Frederic Wake-Walker.
With a group of singing sausages and a chorus of yodelling frogs, Gloria - A Pigtale is clearly not your traditional opera.
It follows the story of a lonely pig looking for love, is said to have echoes of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and the musical Cabaret, and is being brought to the festival by the Mahogany Opera Group.
“On the surface it is a mad, zany story about a pig called Gloria who falls in love with a butcher and is about to get the chop when Rodney the wild boar comes to her rescue,” said Frederic Wake-Walker, who is directing the colourful show written by Viennese composer HK Gruber.
“There are lots of zany characters like blues-singing oxen and a chorus of frogs, some fascist pigs, and some Hollywood hotdogs who were dreaming of being film stars but were turned into hotdogs instead.”
Along with the eclectic mix of crazy characters, Mr Wake-Walker said there was a wonderful smorgasbord of music with jazz, blues, opera, and even Alpine yodelling, all featuring in show.
He described Gloria - A Pigtale as a cabaret opera and variety show, and said alongside all the fun it also had a more serious, anarchic side.
“We are setting it in a burlesque butcher’s shop, with the cabaret show glamour mixed with the brutal, metallic butcher’s world,” he said.
Mahogany Opera Group has recently been formed from The Opera Group and Mahogany Opera, and Mr Wake-Walker hopes that by putting on shows like Gloria - A Pigtale the company will open up opera to a much wider audience. The company’s production of the show is thought to be the first in the UK since it’s premiere in 1994.
Mr Wake-Walker said: “We are very much about broadening the scope of what opera can be. I think if people look more broadly at the way that all art is going, particularly performance art, the boundaries between genres are breaking down and opera has a chance to roam across these different boundaries and speak relevantly of our time.”
He added: “Gloria - A Pigtale is eclectic and zany and a lot of fun. There’s also something quite anarchic about it.
“There’s something for opera connoisseurs, fans of the Spiegeltent, those who are into theatre and dance. It speaks on many different levels.”
The show is being performed at Norwich Playhouse tomorrow and Wednesday, and Mr Wake-Walker was previously involved in a Glyndebourne production of The Yellow Sofa which was at the city theatre in 2012.
The Opera Group also took part in the 2012 Norfolk and Norwich Festival when it performed Bow Down, an ancient murder ballad in a secret woodland setting.
• Gloria – A Pigtale is a Norwich Playhouse from tomorrow and Wednesday. Tickets £17. For more and to book visit www.nnfestival.org.uk or call the box office on 01603 766400.
• For more about Mahogany Opera Group visit www.mahoganyoperagroup.co.uk
• For more NNF Festival Focus features click here.