Theatre Review: Falstaff, Verdi Opera Norths Green Season at The Lowry, Salford
In a dazzling display of laughter, Opera Norths Green Season opened last night at The Lowry in Salford, and at its centre stage, the season opened with Verdi’s Falstaff.
With Leslie Traverss creation of a clapped-out caravan and an array of miscellaneous items, the staging transports the audience to the 1980s, immersing us in a world of mischief and misadventure. The lovable rogue Sir John Falstaff, brilliantly portrayed by Henry Waddington, pursues a brighter future through the pursuit of rich wives.
Waddingtons simple yet complex performance captures the essence of Falstaffs comedic charm, providing a joyous and honourable rendition of one of theatres greatest comic characters.
This is coupled with Kate Royal’s spirited portrayal of Alice alongside powerful performances from Helen Évora, Louise Winter, Isabelle Peters, and Egor Zhuravskii. The chemistry of this ensemble brings vitality to the stage, complemented by the Orchestra of Opera North’s splendid rendition of Verdi’s surprising score, creating an irresistible theatrical experience.
The final scene, set in a mood of magic and disguises, encapsulates the blend of humour and enchantment, perfectly mirrored by the characters; interactions. Indeed, the Opera North chorus did everything that was asked of them, and it was refreshing to see them developed in such a way.
Additionally, what sets this Green Season apart from other seasons is Opera North’s commitment to sustainability. The company has delved into eco-friendly practices,
examining supply chains, lighting rigs, touring logistics, and costume designs. Furthermore, the green journey has extended to the audience, who are encouraged to choose digital programmes and tickets while opting for public transport when attending the theatre, and timing has been adjusted to guarantee this. The collaboration between Opera North, The Lowry, and now sustainability goes from strength to strength and allows opera fans to experience quality opera within the Northwest while also supporting sustainable pathways.
Long may this continue.
Throughout the week, Opera North is showing a brand-new work, Masque of Might, cleverly & repurposing; the music of baroque composer Purcell on Thursday, November 16.
Concluding the trio on Friday, November 17, is Puccinis La Rondine, set against the stylish salons of 1930s Paris and the carefree world of the French Riviera.
However, even for those more accustomed to different cultural offerings, audiences have an opportunity to revel in the hilarity and enjoyable experience of the timeless classic capture of Falstaff at the matinee performance on Saturday, November 18. It all makes for a suitably joyous production, likely to please opera novices and aficionados alike.
Written By Dean Thomas-Lowde for Canal St Media
Published: 16-Nov-2023 (7315)