Un Ballo in Maschera

4
Thu, 11th Apr 19
Verdi's "A Masked Ball" from the WNO, seen in Bristol.

What a bizarre little number this is. It was not an opera I had seen before, nor knew much about - well now I have een it but I'm not sure I know much more than I did! Mind you, I certainly liked the experience.

Essentially a tale of jealousy, love and revenge but with a (sort of) happy ending this opera mixes in the delights of a masked ball, a moonlit trip to a gallows field, a wild soothsayer in league with the devil and an assasination plot. Confused? You will be! The WNO production does not seek to clarify any of this but wraps it up in a bizarre, flamboyant, exciting and fast-paced world of its own that pleases the senses whilst leaving the brain reeling. Sumptuous in design the effect was slightly spoiled by the huge piece of set that masked some of the action for any except those in centre stalls and requied black clad, headphone wearing stage crew to haul them about. 

All of the principles were excellent but Mary Elizabeth Williams as Amelia was superb, I could listen to her all day and then some, such a beautiful voice and properly acted too - a genuine delight and worth a 5* by herself. On the night, our Renalto was played by Phillip Rhodes who had stepped in to cover for the previous singer who was indisposed - a lovely performance.

And a shout out to my favourite touring orchestra, the wonderful WNO and to a chorus who I hope had as much fun as it looked - great choreography, fabulous costumes and wildly tongue in cheek.

The tour is now complete but I hope this production, perhaps with a tweak or two, comes back in the future.


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