Review: A Night at the Opera, Congress Theatre - by Heather Flood

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PASSION, humour and tragedy were all encapsulated into A (wonderful) Night At The Opera at the Congress Theatre on Friday.

The London Festival Opera brought together charismatic world-class artists to perform works from some of the greatest composers.

Light relief was provided by compere and baritone Philip Blake-Jones’ humorous remarks, and when fellow baritone David Stephenson gave the audience a hair-raising experience.

Stephenson went into the stalls, scissors and comb in hand, pretending to give members of the audience a ‘short back and sides’ while singing Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

David’s powerful voice was mesmerising.

Unfortunately, another memorable moment came when tenor Cameron Rolls struggled with the beginning of Bizet’s The Pearlfishers before recovering to provide a strong finish.

Happily that was the only faux pas in an extremely enjoyable evening.

There were excellent performances from sopranos Victoria Joyce and Julie Unwin, mezzo-soprano Yvonne Fontane, new tenor Carlos Fidalgo and pianist Jenny Trew.

Favourites such as Puccini’s One Fine Day from Madam Butterfly, Mozart’s The Birdcatcher’s Song from the Magic Flute, Bizet’s Habanera from Carmen, Strauss’ Im Feuerstrom der Reben from Die Fledermaus, and even a touch of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado were among the highlights.