Author: Eddie Regan
The Gondoliers is the twelfth collaboration between Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert. It was premiered in 1889 and remains one of the most popular G. & S. Operettas. The experienced Robin Stopford was tonight’s Musical Director and he and the specially invited orchestra, led by Tracey Johnson provided the excellent score with just the right sound balance.
The curtains opened to reveal a very well designed and constructed set and as the Overture was played five talented dancers interpreted the music. Their dramatic Black and White Harlequin costumes and Venetian masks created a very positive atmosphere, which was to continue throughout the performance. Choreography by Jade Milner was excellent and was a highlight of the show. Director, Philip Walsh had obviously used all his experience of this particular genre to develop the Italian theme to transport the audience to Venice. Colourful costumes, appropriate hair and makeup all helped to create the correct mood.
There was a strong cast of experienced Principals on show tonight.
Robert Feeley and Carl Donohue as Marco and Giuseppe showed their years of stage-craft and their voices were at their best. Amy Hardy and Rowena Perry, Gianetta and Tessa were the epitome of G. and S. leading ladies. It was pleasing to see Peter Bowden as The Duke of Plaza Toro. He is singing as well as ever and he brought out all the humour required in this great characterization. I was very impressed with David Twizell as Don Alambra Del Bolero. His skilled performance, was a highlight of the evening for me. The lovely G. and S. Quartets were a joy to listen to, a salute to very good singing and Robin Stopford’s Musical Direction. The Ensemble numbers looked good and their Diction was excellent.
My wife and I had a very enjoyable evening It is a delight to know that this particular genre is flourishing in this area. Long may it continue.
The last six years when I have been doing your reviews has been a great pleasure and Jean and I will, of course, continue to support your Company.