Concert Review

Gomez Salvator Rosa Dorset Opera Company conducted by Patrick Shelley. Bloomsbury Theatre, London 14 August 00 (PGW)

The Proms apart, there has been little in London to deter the concert critics fraternity from flying north to Edinburgh. It was a good opportunity to sample the work of one of UK's provincial opera companies. The Dorset Opera Company, which normally presents its productions at Sherbourne School and is well supported by a Friends' organisation, was enabled by and sponsorship to make a first foray to London as part of the Brazilian Festival.

Carlos Gomez (1836-96) was born in Brazil and won fame with this opera in Genoa in 1874. Salvator Rosa is, in fact, a typical Italian revolutionary opera, with the sort of music that you think you have heard before, although you haven't! It was given in Italian, without sur-titles; an English libretto was provided in the press pack, but total darkness, even between scenes & acts, made it impossible to read it.

The production was conventional and the staging rudimentary. The singing was often untidy and generally unnecessarily loud, even in recits where there was no orchestra to compete with, but there was one very accomplished singer/actress, Andrea Baker, [picture]in the trousers part of Salvator Rosa's apprentice. She has already given Strauss's Composer in Germany, and should have a bright future.

Interval talk suggested that this rarity pleased the unknown opera collectors fraternity (who are rather like bird 'twitchers') and Dorset Opera should be complimented upon their enterprise in reviving it. The orchestra was adequate, but the small complement of strings was sometimes overstretched, and intonation suffered.

One for the list but not a discovery for the repertoire.

Peter Grahame Woolf


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