A Night at the Opera

MICHAEL DRAKE Norwich Theatre Royal

MICHAEL DRAKE

> Norwich Theatre Royal

Born out of the popular “Operatunity” television series, here is the ideal opportunity for an introduction to opera.

It is built around the most popular operatic arias and duets but with a strikingly lit stage, and Denise Leigh and Jane Gilchrist, winners of the TV contest, were equally striking – one in black, the other in white – and showing remarkable compatibility in Delibes' Lakmé duet.

The spirited backing of two pianos and a quartet of strings added much to the programme also, although at times I wanted a more substantial sound.

Experienced opera performers Alan Oke (tenor) and baritone Wyn Pencarreg added to the populist mix with the Pearl Fishers duet, while the sopranos revelled in La Boheme — Leigh always with extreme clarity and Gilchrist with beautiful control.

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But the pair need to work on their levity to make the lighter side of the show really work.

However, Lehar's songs (On My Lips seemed to be the audience favourite) showed the pair are just as adept with light numbers.

t They are in King's Lynn on November 10.

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