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The Opera

By Sue Saunders Soo's Fifty Firsts

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


Soo's Fifty Firsts Contributor


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Tonight’s “first” experience was to visit the opera, and oh what a theatre. I dashed from work to catch the train into London, walked across the bridge to the theatre taking in the spectacular night-time views that London all lit up has to offer. Just arriving on time (the last call bell was ringing and doors were being shut as we pushed it open), we took our seats. Five rows from the front on the right hand side, I looked around the theatre. Beautiful architecture about us from gold clad statues near the ceiling of the theatre with red and gold draped boxes strewn either side of a magnificent stage hung with a purple curtain.

The conductor arrived and everyone clapped (so polite!), then the music started and a number of familiar songs rang out but everyone listened silently enraptured by the sounds of the orchestra (including the loud symbols that appeared to come from beneath the closest box to us)!

The curtains swayed open making one feel sea sick, although I think this was to emulate the pirate ship that appeared before us being on the sea! The cleverly engineered boat like platform swung through an enormous circle and the pirates on board sang the tale of a coming of age man who had boarded the pirate ship when he was 8 after his nursery nurse had mistaken his parents asking to become an apprentice with a pilot! She was quite deaf so thought they had said pirates!

And so the tale continued with amazing gusto performances from the leading actors the pirate king, Frederick (the apprentice pirate), ruth (his nursery nurse), second in command etc. I was struck (having watched countless musicals previously) by the change in characters from that of a “cockney” style accent suddenly changing to a melodic cacophony of song, in a rather posh voice – this I wasn’t used to in a musical as characters tended to keep their accent throughout.

The story unfolded and the singing from the various main characters was absolutely awesome! Mabel (the Major Generals youngest daughter) had such a range and sang and danced her heart out to my delight as I had noticed her before she sang as the most exuberant and energetic of characters on the stage!

After a swift large wine in the pub next door to the London Coliseum I spent the time reading the “Sir Title” (which I had found out during the interval was above the stage) and digitised the words of the songs that were being sung on stage (bit like a call centre display board). Although a bit distracting I could at least understand what they were singing as in the first half I had not always followed what was going on.

I enjoyed the Opera although still feel my heart lies with musicals where at least they can stay in “character” throughout their performance whether singing or acting!

Contact Information

Sue Saunders

Find Soo's Fifty Firsts

Basingstoke, Hampshire