DO: A Local Opera You Can Bring Your Kids To
by Lucie Emerson
Do you ever think you’re not making the most of London and what it has to offer? Or perhaps you do, but you are always on the lookout for your next cultural adventure? Either way, Tuesday 24 February at the Bush Theatre should be in your diary for a fun taste of opera for grown-ups and children nine years and up.
The director, Fiona Williams, is a local mum of two and former opera singer. She is immersed in a number of projects which succeed in both making opera more accessible and offering up gems to tempt aficionados.
The evening at the Bush Theatre is a double bill of Mozart’s two short operas: Bastien and Bastienne and The Impresario. Written at the age of 12, Bastien and Bastienne is a love story reset in a west London café. The Impresario stems from a court competition with Salieri where Mozart parodies his peers—warring sopranos and an aging diva. “We’re really excited to bring these two shows to the Bush Theatre,” Fiona told WLM. “The evening spans Mozart’s career as he explores young love with a maturity which belies his own age when he was composing Bastien. The Impresario demonstrates Mozart’s playful sense of humour as he sends up the performers of the day. Our production shows that really nothing much has changed on the opera scene in 2015!”
For newcomers to opera like me, let’s also get the practical facts straight: each performance is under 45 minutes long, with an interval in between; they are translated into modern English; there is plenty of dialogue. Think musical theatre that you can follow, in a cosy space with lots of laughs—and beautiful opera.
For regular opera-goers, this is an opportunity to see rarely performed Mozart pieces that are too short to make it to the larger venues. And set at the Bush Theatre, they will be intimate—you’ll feel close to the action, wherever you sit.
If this night at the Bush Theatre gives you the bug, Fiona also directs regular performances at Fulham Opera. Like the Bush Theatre, the venue, St John’s Church in Fulham, is small and gives you a chance to experience opera as if you were within the performance. Coming up in March over four nights is Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi.
And you might also hear the sounds of opera in west London schools where Fiona and the Opera Holland Park team run Alice in Wonderland workshops for key stage 2 classes. The children are taken on an adventure through song, drama, physical theatre, musical creation and sounds. They jump from station to station, creating their own version of the story with resounding excitement—just in time for this year’s 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic book.
Bastien and Bastienne and The Impresario, Bush Theatre
Tuesday 24 February 2015 at 8pm
Tickets: £15 (£12 concessions), £8 for under 16s
Available from www.opera-alegria.co.uk
Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi, Fulham Opera
Friday 20 March at 7:30pm, Sunday 22 March at 7pm, Friday 27 March at 7:30pm, Sunday 29 March at 7pm
Tickets: £25 (£20 concessions), £10 for under 12s
Available from www.fulhamopera.co.uk
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