Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail (Situation Opera/London Irish Centre) 01 September

Probably the Irish Centre's dancefloor in real life

My first visit to the London Irish Centre proved rewarding in more ways than one.  The staff at the centre were very hospitable, and I enjoyed Situation Opera’s production of Entfuhrung, especially in the ensembles and the more cheerful passages.  I wondered whether we had discovered fringe/pub opera by analogy with fringe/pub theatre, where the nearness of the performers is an important part of the experience.

Karen Richmond was a strongly-characterised Blonde and Iris Korfker and affecting Konstanze, while Graham Neal’s nonchalant upper-class Belmonte was certainly striking.  We had dialogue in English and songs in German, which worked pretty well.  The ‘house lights’ were on during the performance so it might be a good idea to bring a synopsis or libretto with you (there’s no synopsis in the programme).

I would certainly recommend a visit–it’s on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd September.  This was certainly a lot more engaging than the production I saw at Covent Garden a decade or so ago–the interest is still in the music and characterisation rather than the drama, but since the thing that happens (a radical change of heart) happens to Pasha Selim (a speaking part), we need to blame Mozart for that, not the performers.  Another of those decisions I’m not clever enough to understand.

Ulster-Munster-Leinster-Connacht

Details of how to book may be found here, or I’m sure you can pay at the door.  Wish I’d got a photo of Miss Korfker’s dress–that was seriously lovely…

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