Go! Fun and compelling classic operatic repertoire
If you ever get a chance to see Opera Bites in a pub, or anywhere for that matter, go! The singers are passionate about their craft and deliver fun and compelling classic operatic repertoire. It’s Mozart accompanied by the sounds of drinks being served, ice dished up and the clatter of a public bar. Actually in many ways it’s what Amadeus himself would have liked, especially given his early relationships with the circus master Schikenaber. It’s music hall atmosphere, and one that all the audience are very much a part of.
In the Roxbury Hotel in Glebe, we are all guests at the impending Marriage of Figaro. The wigs and costumes are completely over the top baroque – just as we all like it.
Challenging musical environment but the ensemble is strong
It’s a challenging musical environment – but underpinned and maintained by the brilliant and extraordinary pianist Zsuzsa Giczy on an electric piano, the entire opera is presented – very fast. It was as much a testament to the brilliance of Mozart himself in this reduced score, as to the skills of this pianist. Propping is minimal – it’s amazing what can go on behind, on top of and down the side of one robust chair.
Rik Dawson’s strong and fun portrayal of the groom is brilliantly paced against pretty and lyrical soprano Elli Bortolotti’s Susanna. The ensemble is strong – I loved Rae Levien’s rich Countess which was perfectly counterbalanced against David Hidden’s masterful Count. What fine voices!
Keara Donohoe’s hapless Cherobino brings the famous arias alive, and meanwhile could table 32 please come and collect their spaghetti! Tenor Peter-John Layton was fun as Don Basilio – it almost felt as if the audience could sing along at times. The atmosphere of a pub is a challenge – some of the beauty of the solos is lost, for example in the wonderful Dove Sono, but when the ensemble comes together as a sextet the effect is powerful and we are all on the road again. Let’s order more Pinot Grigio and chips!
After an interval, we are treated to 14 opera highlights in about 20 minutes, no mean feat for singers who have been on stage all night.
Go to their next performance
Bravo Opera Bites, bravo. We look forward to your next performance on 17 May at the Dove and Olive, Surry Hills.
Opera Bites: Opera in the Pub | Glebe | 23 March 2015