Shaw Goes Wilde by Philip Hagermann.

Pegasus Opera Company working in collaboration with Hagemann-Rosenthal Associates presents Shaw goes Wilde. Although Wilde goes Shaw does not have the same presence as a title Wilde’s adaptation is performed first.The event comprising of two one-act Operas based on Bernard Shaw’s “The Music Cure” and Oscar Wilde’s “The Nightengale and the Rose”.

Performed in the newly opened Susie Sainsbury Theatre in the Royal Academy of Music. A state of the art theatre boasting amazing acoustics, comfortable leather seats and everything you expect to find in a luxury theatre just on a smaller scale.

The opening first act based upon The Nightengale and the Rose by Wilde has been set against the backdrop of a garden coming to life through the early morning mist. Katie Grossett’s beautiful portrayal of the Nightengale bought elegance and grace to the rarely seen shy elusive thicket bird. With her captivating voice matching the smooth rhythms of dance representing the soft movement of the Nightengales wings.

Performed by an extremely talented cast and an interesting selection of flora and fauna costumes, the piece was delivered clearly and was thoroughly enjoyable. I especially liked the lizard which Holly-Marie Bingham’s amazing posture and discipline kept firmly in place on her head throughout the entire performance.

Pegasus Operatic Society state that their ethos is to “…promote opera in culturally diverse communities for all ages” this event certainly delivers their message. All the Orchestra alone were clearly from a wide spectrum of members covering a range of ages and different communities.

The stronger Opera was by far the second act. Making an impact from the second the curtain rose. With strong angled walls, bold rich colours and the impressive polished baby grand piano on the right-hand side of the stage.

The cast of three were extremely strong performers. Alison Buchanan’s voice is incredible and very moving you cannot fail to see why she has such a long and varied portfolio in the Opera industry. Oliver Brignall and Buchanan’s performance through this act had been brilliantly directed by Louise Bakker. With two very strong personalities taking center stage the flirtatious banter was extremely entertaining and some well-executed comedy parts. This side of Opera is often overlooked sadly.

Philip Hagemann could be seen conducting his orchestra of 13 members on the television screens positioned around the tier of the upper circle. Without one missed note both Opera pieces were a sheer pleasure to listen to. There is something mysterious about watching a conductor performing when they are totally in tune with their music, as Hagemann clearly is with this production.

A special mention to the wonderful set and costume designer Richard Evans is in order. Each set has been created completely different from the other, from the garden to the luxury hotel room. His visions helped to bring another dimension to this wonderful production.

Opera as with many art forms have adopted the reputation of “high art” which in turn alienates large sections of society. How and why you enjoy art in any form is all that should matter. Trying something different and moving away from your comfort zone can be both challenging and enriching.

The Pegasus Opera Company’s performances are a fantastic introduction to this thoroughly enjoyable genre of Opera.

Four stars

CastAlison Buchanan-Strega Thundridge/ Daisy

Angela M Caesar-Butterfly

Katie Grosett-Nightengale

Holly-Marie Bingham-Little Green Lizard

Peter Braithwaite-Second Rose Tree/Doctor

Nicholas Morton-Student

Amal Khalida-Maiden

Oliver Brignall-First Rose Tree/Reginald

Thomas Bennett-Third Rose Tree

Creative Team

Sonia Hyams-Executive Director Pegasus Opera Company

Jordan Mullineaux FRSA Producer Pegasus Opera Company

Philip Hagermann-Composer/Conductor

Louise Bakker-Stage Director

Richard Evans-Set and Costume Director.

Amal Khalida-Assistant Stage Manager

Samantha Murphey-Costume Supervisor

Charlie Morgan Jones-Lighting Designer

Keira Dulake-Assistant Stage Manager

Lewis den Hertog-AV Designer

John Nicoll-Stage Manager

Jan Rautio-Rehearsal Pianist

Orchestra

James Douglas-Orchestra Manager/Cellist

Jan Rautio-Piano Soloist

Alyson Frazier-Flute

Uchenna Ngwe-Oboe

Anthony Friend-Clarinet

Linton Stephens-Bassoon

Deryck Nasib-French Horn

Raja Halder-Violin I

Mandhira de Saram-Violin II

Clifton Harrison-Viola

Nathan Knight-Double Bass

Catrin Meek-Harp

Tom Lee-Percussion

Three young players from Lambeth Youth Symphony Orchestra

Claudia Buchanan-CelloLiby Winterstein-Violin

Michael Quiza-Perez-Violin.

12th-14th April 2019

Susie Sainsbury Theatre

Royal Academy of Music.

Review on behalf of London Theatre 1.

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