Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Cape Town Opera: Porgy and Bess

Here's a link to my review of Cape Town Opera's Porgy and Bess, which I caught at the Birmingham Hippodrome on the first leg of a six-week tour. Cardiff will also get to see The Mandela Trilogy, a new trio of work's celebrating the Great Man's life. The company, which was formed just 13 years ago to tie together various threads of existing institutions (the Cape has a long operatic history: Der Freischütz had made it there in 1831, for example, we read in the programme), oozes with talent, and the choral singing--reflecting a strong local tradition--is astonishingly focussed and powerful. And, given the restrictions no doubt imposed by the touring schedule, the staging is eminently decent. As I hint in my review, though, the work itself has its issues: in terms of racial politics, of course, it opens up a can of worms--and this can is shaken about further by this show, which shifts the action to a Soweto township in the 1970s. It's great entertainment, of that there's no doubt, but should it be?

Details of the tour can be found at http://www.porgyandbess2012.co.uk/, and those in London will have a good chance to catch the show during its ten-day sting at the Coliseum

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