30 January 2016

Light opera comes to Ham with Seriously, Gilbert & Sullivan

Gilbert and Sullivan's style of light opera is not something that I go to far out of my way to see but when it's within easy walking distance then it's an easy choice to make.

I had never been inside St Richard’s Church before, though I had taken many pictures of its striking modern exterior, so that was another good reason for going.

Lots of other people thought so too and the church was packed by the time that I got there which showed that my plan of turning up just ten minutes before the start was not such a good one. I took a seat in the back row and that was fine.

We were presented with excerpts from four Gilbert and Sullivan operas starting with Mikado which was the only one I knew. There were about four songs in each segment which was enough to get the flavour of the story and of some of the main characters.

Telling those stories and being those characters were four singers, two women and two men. They were accompanied by a pianist who did his best with the church piano which must have been of a much lower standard than he was used to. The sound was a little rough but that was all that could be expected.

There was a half-time interval for drinks and nibbles and, as it was for a good cause, I bought a glass of wine in addition to the free one that I had had on arrival. I also spoke to quite a few people there, many of whom I knew from local groups like HUG and HAG. In one of these conversations came the idea for forming a local group for fans of the arts to publicise events such as this one and to arrange group visits. I really must do some more work on that idea.

The second half gave us more good singing about pompous characters and desperate lovers. It was all very jolly and very nicely done.

I loitered with some intent after the concert, first to help put the chairs away and then to talk to the singers. I had quick conversations with the two men of the "well done, you were very good" kind then two longer conversations with the two women one of whom I had seen sing before, as the Tete-a-Tete Opera Festival, and the other of whom I would be seeing twice at Glyndebourne in the coming season.

It was an evening of fine music in a local venue filled with familiar faces and that made it a good evening indeed.

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