Night at the opera ‘a real treat’

Review by Stuart Bull

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BOSTON theatregoers had a real treat when Heritage Opera visited Blackfriars Theatre to give a taster of their talents, prior to November 2, when they return with Bizet’s Carmen.

Four members of the company – Serenna Wagner (soprano), Sarah Helsby-Hughes (soprano), Nick Sales (tenor) and Nick Beever (baritone), with Jon Laird on piano) – entertained with excerpts from La Traviata, La Boheme, Figaro, Rigoletto, Carmen, and Die Fledermaus, all in English.

Between them they have a fine musical pedigree, with appearances for Opera North, English Pocket Opera, Berlin Comic Opera, Carla Rosa, and D’Oyley Carte.

The quality of the singing was simply superb, and the accompaniment of Jon Laird was of the highest quality – the piano at Blackfriars Theatre rarely gets such exercise!

Particularly enjoyable were the Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus, Your Tiny Hand is Frozen and Mimi’s song from La Boheme, and The Flower song from Carmen. The audience laughed uproariously at the scenes from Rigoletto, perhaps understanding some of the more earthy humour for the first time as it was sung in English.

It will be no surprise to anyone who saw the concert that Nick Sales auditioned successfully the following day for English National Opera at Covent Garden. However, he assures us that this will not stop him from returning to Boston in the autumn to play Don Jose in Carmen.