La Traviata, The Barber of Seville and Turandot in one evening, Southwick Opera review

Ruth Kerr as Turandot and Nicholas Buxton as Calaf with the rest of the cast of Turandot
Ruth Kerr as Turandot and Nicholas Buxton as Calaf with the rest of the cast of Turandot

An evening of operatic indulgence brings some experienced singers to the stage in Southwick.

And accompanying them is Lesley-Anne Sammons, one of the country’s most experienced opera pianists, having worked with all the major British opera companies as well as in major opera houses across Europe.

Ruth Kerr as Turandot and Nicholas Buxton as Calaf in Turandot

Ruth Kerr as Turandot and Nicholas Buxton as Calaf in Turandot

Southwick Opera does not hold back with its Tri-Opera, delivering three abridged operas in one evening at The Barn Theatre, nightly until Saturday.

Verdi’s tragedy La Traviata, Rossini’s comic opera The Barber of Seville and Puccini’s Turandot, featuring Nessun Dorma, are each staged as if full operas, with elaborate sets and curtain calls.

Director Simon Gray has adapted each to be performed as a mini opera, which does rather make for a long evening, ending just before 10.40pm on the opening night yesterday.

Having the three different styles makes for interesting comparisons, though La Traviata is perhaps a little long at an hour, being there are two more operas to follow.

Duncan Shrewsbury as Figaro and Hilary Andrews as Rosina in The Barber of Seville

Duncan Shrewsbury as Figaro and Hilary Andrews as Rosina in The Barber of Seville

Brindisi, aka The Drinking Song, is bouncy and brings in the large cast for which Southwick Opera is famous.

The duet between Veronica Brooks as Violetta and Chris Parke as Germont is heart-wrenching and the ending very moving.

Things get a bit crazy in The Barber of Seville, with some interesting costume decisions that add to the fun. You cannot take your eyes off Hilary Andrews’ shiny red boots as she flounces around the stage as Rosina.

Marion Tinkler is brilliant as the housekeeper Berta, Duncan Shrewsbury is great as Figaro and Samuel Cousins positively booms as Count Almaviva.

Gray makes the most of the large cast in Turnadot, giving an impressive chorus for the stars, Ruth Kerr as Turandot and Nicholas Buxton as Calaf, plus Karen Orchin, who gives a beautifully poignant performance as Liu.

The sets are impressive, although bringing on the various props does add to the time, and a huge amount of work has gone into the costumes.

The piano playing you cannot fault but with the piano right in the centre, the light for the music was quite a distraction from the stage. Still, it is nice to watch Lesley Anne’s fingers fly over the keys.

See Tri-Opera at The Barn Theatre tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 7.30pm. Call the box office on 01273 597094 or visit www.southwickopera.co.ukto book online.

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