Thursday 11 July 2013

Macbeth, Blackheath Halls

Macbeth on the Heath, Blackheath Halls, that is. Blackheath is a shining example of how good community-based opera can be when it's done well. It helps that this local community includes professional musicians and singers, whose expectations are higher than elsewhere.  Many community operas are written to involve the community and children in particular : a noble ideal, which grows the long term audience. Blackheath, though, can tackle operas written for more sophisticated resources. The secret, I think, is to understand the core essentials in a work and do it well.  ".....electing for a ‘Gothic minimalist’ approach to the staging allowed the well-known story - played in the round - to unfold directly and without distraction."

The emphasis then is on the singers. A few really good leads (Miriam Murphy, Matthew Rose,
 Quentin Hayes) and a well-led cast, and there you go !  Claire Seymour was at Blackheath Halls for Verdi's Macbeth. She write about it in Opera Today (click link for full review and cast) 

She adds "This community project was launched and is driven by the passion and invention of General Manager, Keith Murray. In this ‘age of austerity’, such ventures are undoubtedly a long way down funding bodies’ list of priorities, and it takes considerable energy and commitment to get a project like this off the ground, let alone to attain such tremendous standards of professionalism year upon year. For the members of the adult and children’s choruses, the experience will have been immensely edifying and invigorating, and perhaps for some, life-changing."

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