Claxton Opera, Norwich

Claxton Opera caters for all tastes with a triple bill at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, that offers a thrillingly varied fare.

By CHRISTOPHER SMITH

How do you like your opera? Warm and sunny or chilly with the wind of change?

Cheerful or controversial? Easy on the ear or rough on the conscience? With an accent on melody or with the stress on Marxism?

But perhaps you don't care for it at all and wonder how people can take it seriously for an evening.

Claxton Opera caters for all tastes with a triple bill at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, that offers a thrillingly varied fare. The Decision by Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler comes across with great power under conductor John Traill, with brass and percussion underlining the message.

By contrast poised 18th century elegance is all the more delightful in Thomas Arne's The Cooper, the merest excuse for a succession of songs that are sung especially sweetly by Julie Roberts until we come to the happy ending we knew would not long be delayed.

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Its musical director, Peter Cooper, has also collaborated with Richard White in Quattro Formaggi or Pizza Passion, a gigantic miniature spoof that would probably turn Verdi green with envy.

t Further performances of this enterprising programme tonight, Friday July 20, and tomorrow at 7.30pm.

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