28 March 2015
Reviewed by Helen Warner
This was my first experience of opera so I did not know what to expect. A fairytale! An opera! How can they go together? But come together they did. The music was a joy to hear and the scenery was spectacular in its simplicity.
Taking our seats in the circle we had a good view of the stage. The show started with the orchestra, they played brilliantly and the music throughout was emotive and perfectly matched to the scenes. The starting screen and the ones used during the scene breaks had lovely artwork which depicted an idea of the act that was to follow.
Hansel and Gretel wore childlike clothes and maintained childish behaviour throughout the performance, from the way they sat on chairs in a childlike way to their playful nature, they maintained this throughout. Their character shined through and the interaction with the other cast members made them endearing to the audience. However, their singing was anything but childlike! Powerful renditions were given by, not just Hansel and Gretel, but by all the cast. The song at the end of the show with the chorus including the enchanted children, (now released from the witches’ spell) was truly beautiful. I felt a little spellbound myself.
Throughout the performance the words being sung were displayed electronically high above the stage, which was helpful in following the story, although a little distracting as you can’t watch the performance and read effectively at the same time.
Overall the whole production came together wonderfully and was a good introduction to opera for me being new to it all.
The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton is quite large with ornate architecture and a domed roof. It’s easy to get to and there’s a multi-storey car park nearby. There’s a bar, although this is a little small so can get rather crowded. There are plenty of helpful staff on hand to direct patrons and to answer any queries.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811