Composer: Christoph Willibald Gluck
Director: Pamela Schermann
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
Celebrating the tercentenary of the composer’s birth, Time Zone Theatre presents a new English translation of Gluck’s most famous Opera: Orpheus and Eurydice (Orfeo ed Euridice).
Based on the Greek myth, Orpheus, devastated by the death of his wife, is aided by the gods in rescuing her from the underworld. Andrew Charity’s version of the popular work – where he is translator, arranger and musical director – is clear and expertly balanced. Scaled down to be played by a quartet (consisting of violin, flute, harp and keyboard), the piece is brought to life by the skilled musicians, playing so beautifully that the audience could be forgiven for enjoying their nuanced performance as much, if not more than, that of the singers.
The production itself is somewhat of a mixed bag: without exception the vocals are strong, but the storytelling aspect leaves something to be desired. Opera singers are not necessarily actors, but in such an intimate space Pamela Schermann needed to elicit some intention and connection from her cast during the instrumental interludes. In the passages of recitative this was less problematic, but some of the mimed sections – particularly from the principals – were awkward at best. Whether this improved in the latter part of the production or whether it was just more successful from further away was unclear, however the staging of the descent into Hades was truly superb, with Schermann making full use of The Rose’s atmospheric architecture.
Mimi Doulton showcased a wonderfully rich and surprisingly mature voice as Eurydice, while Robin Green braved illness to give a nuanced vocal performance that made wonderful use of dynamics. Despite only taking on a choral rôle, Victoria Pym was the stand out of the production, marrying obvious acting talent with a clear, controlled and melodious vocal. The community choir enhanced the production with their strong harmonies and well-choreographed movement, and the end scene involved and engaged the audience as the final notes rang out. An enjoyable production from a committed company, this is Opera for the everyman in a fantastic venue that is well worth an evening of your time.
Photo: Robert Piwko | Run until 28thJune