11 February 2017

The Pirates of Penzance at ENO was delightful despite the poor view

I had largely managed to avoid Gilbert and Sullivan and was only persuaded to see The Pirates of Penzance by other people.

Having decided to go on a Saturday I made something of a day of it by popping into the V&A on the way and then into Govinda's where a Large Thali had morphed into an Unlimited one, not that I went back for seconds.

Being relatively slow off the mark for Pirates I failed to get my usual front row seat upstairs and instead had to settle for Upper Circle  B25 at £‬40.

A reasonable price for the seat until two tall people sat in front of me and limited my view to the middle third of the stage. That is ridiculous for a seat at that price and has vastly reduced the chances that I will go back to The Coliseum except for mandatory events, e.g. Philip Glass operas.

Luckily most of the action happened in the middle third of the stage.

That stage was simply constructed and boldly coloured, like a young child's toy. The opera opened with a large blue screen through which a bright orange ship emerged. This was, of course, the pirates' ship on which Frederic had just reached 21 and with that completed his indenture to the pirates. Freed of his bond he was leaving them to start a new life. Leaving with him was a maid who was responsible for his indenture to the pirate originally and in mistake.

What followed was a jolly romp with pretty young ladies, their Major-General father and a group of not so bold policeman. What also followed was lots of jolly songs. I knew I am the very model of a modern Major-General and A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One and they were fairly typical of the feast of around thirty songs. There was a lot of humour in there and the tunes were pleasant too.

The story was helped a lot by some strong acting both by the principle characters and the large supporting cast. One high point was the increasing timidity of the policemen as others remarked on their valour in doing battle with the pirates where they faced certain death,

I left the singing to last because it had been a problem at my previous exposure to Gilbert and Sullivan it had been bit of a problem and so I was delighted that the singing was good this time. Again that included both the principles, there were several, and the supporting cast.

The story ended happily and the journey there was a lot of fun. I had a delightful evening and was able to forgive the poor view.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are welcome. Comments are moderated just to keep out the spammers and all valid comments are published, even those that I disagree with!