Sunday, 18 February 2018

Salieri First the Music Then The Words, Lunchbreak Opera



There are three arteries by which one hears of shows going on in town: the company; the piece; or the performers. I'd heard that Caroline Kennedy was going to be performing in this one act four-hander in St Botolph's near London Liverpool Street, which is a strong recommendation in itself, though a new company and a little known Salieri piece concurrent with the National Theatre's Amadeus revival sealed the deal.

Lunchbreak Opera are a string quartet conducted from the harpsichord by Matthew O'Keefe. The instrumentalists sat at the back of the hall, by the door, which meant that the audience (which included a number of charming and engrossed 6-8 year olds on half term) was thrust forward to the front of the performing area. Salieri's opera was apparently performed without much cut (we were probably working to an 18th century Viennese idea of a Lunchbreak, then, at 85 mins) but plenty of style and energy. The cast had bent the Regency of St Botolph's parish hall to their whim with vigour, hunour and considerable costuming effort, not to mention generous singing, despite reels of recit. No doubt the ensemble issues that plagued the early performance I went to were resolved by the end of the full week of performances.

There was style and sonority aplenty here so one looks out for their next adventure.

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