An incredibly late decision by me to venture into the world of comic opera paid off, with a fabulous last-minute offer on some great seats proving too tempting to resist, and a wonderful evening followed at the Coliseum.
Located just off Trafalgar Square, the Coliseum is a beautiful venue and one of the largest theatres in the city. It is currently home to the English National Opera, who were performing the comic piece – in English, as they always do.
Despite having never actually seen the production before, I was amazed at how much of Rosini’s score was recognisable to me. From the start, the overture grabbed me and the music didn’t let go until several hours later as I floated out the building with a massive grin on my face.
The highly farcical – of course it’s a farce, operas tend towards the over dramatic and a comedy opera would therefore need to be overplayed and nonsensical – proceedings were brought to you by a very mischievous Eleazar Rodriguez as the protaganist Count Almaviva. His plans to woo the young Rosina – played by Kathryn Rudge – becoming more convoluted by the minute. He enlists the help of Figaro, the eponymous barber, played with great energy and charm by Morgan Pearse, but meets his match in the Doctor, Bartolo, whose portrayal by Andrew Shore was one of the highlights of the evening. Shore’s grumpy Doctor character brilliantly contrasting with the ridiculous Count in his various guises – not least during the second act “Peace and Joy” whereby the Count, masquerading as a music teacher, manages to rile the Doctor with his repetitious salutations.
I was incredibly fortunate to obtain Row G stalls seats for this event, which gave me a great view of the stage and all the goings on – but it has to be said, I have sat near the back of the circle at this venue and it is so well designed, you are afforded a great view and fantastic acoustics wherever you are seated. The ENO are committed to making opera accessible for everyone and have various Young Person schemes and a commitment to set aside a percentage of tickets for £20 or less at each performance, so if you have ever felt opera to be too expensive or too elitist to take an interest in, I urge you to have a look at the ENO website and the fantastic shows they put on.