Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Offenbach Vert-Vert : Garsington Opera at Wormsley

"Monty Python meets the Belles of St Trinians? Sacré bleu !"Jacques Offenbach's Vert-Vert at Garsington Opera at Wormsley  features a girl’s school in collective mourning for a dead parrot".

"The plot, suitably Pythonesque given the dead parrot, is more or less impossible to précis. Suffice it to say we are in a girls convent school in mourning for its dead parrot, Vert-Vert. Cue general lamentations. The girls choose an innocent young man, Valentin, as a substitute parrot....."Rather like a demented Brian Rix farce, mayhem ensues. All is happily resolved in the rousing final chorus (“A slurp of wine”) but in between there are some notably tender and affecting moments. This may be comic but it is comedy with a heart."

Read more HERE in Opera Today reviewed by Douglas Cooksey

"The production - a fine demonstration of ‘more is less’ but nonetheless with several coups de théâtre as when the back of the stage opens wide and the school/chateau is wheeled to the open space beyond with Garsington’s woods as a backdrop or another occasion when the rear of the stage opens to admit the barge named Hortense which bears Valentin away - was an object lesson in pointful economy. .......Most importantly - and this is probably why the genre has never really caught on in Britain - in David Parry we had a conductor who, like Beecham, has the idiom at his fingertips, exuding panache, élan and élegance in equal measure (only French words will do). Beecham once talked of combining the maximum delicacy with the maximum virility, a comment which might well have applied to the Garsington orchestra on this occasion with its polished strings, an excellent first clarinet (Peter Sparks) in his several solos and a notably secure horn section. The score absolutely fizzed along.

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