Die Fledermaus at the Southampton Mayflower

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SHORT STORY FOR THE WEEKEND: Let’s Do It by David Dunford

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Presenting a contrasting programme this week, the Welsh National Opera explored both ends of the dramatic scale with the light Die Fledermaus by Strauss and Verdi’s dark Il trovatore.

The comedic three act operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat) possesses a nonsensical plot involving infidelity, lawlessness and a lot of alcohol. Any weaknesses in the storyline are inherent and director John Copley has done a good job of making a fabulous bedroom farce out of it. By poking fun at itself with topical jokes and even the Go Compare theme tune there were lots of extra laughs added in. All of the soloists were superb but Nuccia Focile and Mark Stone stood out as the misbehaving couple at the centre of the plot. Joanne Boag was a suitably cheeky maid and Helen Lapalaan splendid as Prince Orlofsky, although at times her lower passages were a little lost. However, Desmond Barrit in the non-singing role of the prison warden stole the show by being truly hilarious. I had forgotten how many wonderful melodies can be heard in this operetta and like the champagne that gets blamed for all the bad behaviour, it certainly had sparkle. Il trovotore is on tonight.