Magazine article Musical Opinion

Opera Holland Park

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Opera Holland Park

Article excerpt

Opera Holland Park

Opera Holland Park's 2007 Season got under way on 5 June beneath a fine new canopy, giving extended cover over the stage and auditorium and with the audience relishing the comfort of the more roomy upholstered seating. The foyer has been smartened up and the picnic area enlarged and landscaped, all of which contributes to the feel-good factor of opera going in this popular London Park.

The sight of rows of beaten-up old suit-cases filling the open stage, which met the audience arriving for the opening production of Verdi's Nabucco, warned that the Director, John Fulljames, was updating the plight of the Jews from biblical times to the 20thcentury, not an original concept but it has worked before. His surprise twist was to disguise their Babylonian persecutors as a touring circus troupe, making for some energetic stage actions, but it was a futile concept.

Nevertheless, Nabucco as the Ringmaster and Abigaille as his lion-taming daughter were powerfully portrayed by David Wakeham and Maria Pollicina, both of whom have had substantial careers in Australia and had the measure of their roles. Wakeham deployed a steady baritone, even in tone throughout his range, and his final solo was properly moving. Pollicina delivered the goods in terms of fearless soprano singing but it was cruel to deck her in a comic leopard-skin costume. Kristina Hammarström was the mellifluous Fenena; Andrew Rees sang pleasingly as Ismaele. Paolo Pecchioli projected the words clearly but lacked vocal weight and colour for the High Priest Zaccaria's pronouncements. …

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