Monthly Archives: September 2017

Khovanshchina (2nd performance).

Saturday 30th September 2017, and for my evening show I’ve rushed back to the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay for my second performance of ‘Khovanshchina’ from the WNO. Having seen this beautiful opera last weekend for the first time, I am so looking forward to watching this fabulous creation for a second time. I can’t reiterate just how good the music, singing and overall feel of the show is. Such a joy to be able to watch it again.

Today I’d like to concentrate most of this blog on the role of the WNO Chorus, who for me, are one of the best I’ve ever heard. With this production they sing more then ever, and from sitting in this superb auditorium is a chance to listen to sheer perfection. To describe these singers in action is like putting two of the best male and female choirs together, rehearsing for months at a time, then letting them loose to sing together on stage. These guys do this day in day out, with only just over twenty to forty members on stage at any one time, just incredible to listen to. The compactness of the combined voices is unbelievable, you have to be there to fully enjoy the most beautiful singing you will ever hear, the harmonies they produce as a team is quite breathtaking. I was so impressed with everything I’ve heard from this Chorus over the years, they just seem to get better and better.

The other factor to a beautiful opera is of course the music. With the WNO Orchestra, this time under the baton of ‘Tomas Hanus’, playing their hearts out for around three and a half hours, to bring this wonderful music to life, as only they can do. Some of the intricate manoeuvring of various instruments in each piece is quite superb, which in this auditorium, is quite easy to listen to and appreciate , in the way it was written. I  would describe the orchestra as one of the best I’ve ever heard, they are so consistent in every opera I’ve seen, they actually make it look so easy.

As I mentioned last week it’s not only the Chorus and orchestra who are fabulous, the entire cast play their part to perfection also. An amazing opera, and an excellent choice from the management at the WNO.

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Blood Brothers.

Saturday 30th September 2017, and a really busy day for me show wise. First off it’s a visit to the New Theatre in Cardiff City Centre, for the matinee of the brilliant musical ‘Blood Brothers’, an absolutely superb show, it’s got everything, comedy, drama, and lots of mascara moments in this epic production, with an amazing score, sung with heart and sole, to an always appreciative audience. Having seen this before on its last tour, I knew what to expect, but I’ll still probably be in tears myself for most of the show.

A strong cast head up this amazing musical with Lyn Paul as mrs Johnston and Dean Chisnall (Shrek on its last U.K. tour) as the Narrator, Sean Jones and Mark Hutchinson play Mickey and Eddie respectively. For today’s show Eddie is played by Andy Owens, who just happens to play the role brilliantly. Also I have to say that Sean is incredible as mickey, the acting in the second act is just phenomenal, so lifelike. 

A few other names are familiar from previous tours, but everyone just fits in perfectly with this exceptional musical. With it’s comical kids first act, to its more serious adult second act, the show is just spectacular.

With a live band playing the music in the pit, everything just flows into each song, once again brilliantly sung by the cast. Lyn Paul has a stunning voice with added oomph from Dean Chisnall and Sean Jones (who is really magnificent as Mickey). I have to admit that as I predicted, I’m in tears for most of this show, it’s so brilliant yet emotional all at the same time. And that ending, so powerful and so emotional. A classic musical, which you could never get tired of watching. Looking forward already to it’s next tour.

Eugene Onegin.

Friday 29th September 2017, a well earned day off from work, so spending it in Cardiff Bay, walking around this picturesque part of the Welsh Capital, before getting myself ready for tonight’s Opera at the Millenium Centre, with a viewing of ‘Eugene Onegin’ by Tchaikovsky. Another Opera I have not seen, so not sure what to expect. Although if it’s as good as last weeks ‘Khovanshchina’, then I’m in for another treat tonight.

Moving onto the opera, which tonight, the magnificent WNO Orchestra is conducted by Ainars Rubikis. Yet again fabulous music played to perfection. So beautiful, so relaxing to listen to, with some amazing voices from this talented cast, along with the WNO chorus give no their all yet again. 

I have to impress on the vocal talent of Natalya Romaniw as Tatyana, what a superb voice she has, along with Claudia Huckle, Camilla Roberts, Jason Bridges and Nicholas Lester as Onegin. Although I have to point out that all of the cast are just superb, with stunning voices to match. It’s a pleasure to listen to such a beautiful Opera yet again, perfect in all its grandeur.

A quick mention to the wardrobe department of the WNO, for such wonderful costumes during this performance. Superb, as usual the WNO have done a tremendous job in putting on another fabulous opera.

Khovanshchina.

After last weekend of no show to go to, its Saturday 23rd September 2017, and the start of the WNO autumn season of Operas. Starting with ‘Khovanshchina’ from Musorgsky. Yet another opera I’ve never seen, and if I’m honest with myself, never even heard of. But as usual, the WNO do their best to stimulate their audiences, with different shows, instead of ‘run of the mill’ operas every other company does, which usually work, supplying the viewer with quality opera not often seen. I must admit to watching a few of these operas I’ve never heard of, and been totally engrossed in the whole adventure, loving everything the WNO have done over the last four years.

This performance was no exception, the music was absolutely fantastic, played brilliantly, yet again by this magnificent orchestra, conducted by Tomas Hanus. The principal leads were also outstanding, powerful voices throughout the performance, really hitting the mark. What can I say about the WNO Chorus, tonight they were out of this world, the best I’ve heard, their combined voices were phenomenal, a total joy to listen to.  A beautiful opera, so well done. 

A shorter blog today, but I can sum ‘Khovanshchina’ up in one huge sentence. ‘One of the best Operas I have ever seen’. Can’t wait to see it again, if I get the chance.

Crazy for you.

Saturday 9th September 2017, and the weekend is finally here, so I’m back at the Millenium Centre in the magnificent setting of Cardiff Bay for two performances of ‘Crazy for you’ with the excellent ‘Tom Chambers’ in the title role, along with the equally brilliant ‘Charlotte Wakefield’. I also get the chance to see ‘Caroline Flack’ in a lead role at a theatrical event. So looking forward to this production, with so many great songs associated with this musical, it promises to be a wonderful days entertainment

The show, written by George and Ira Gershwin, has loads going for it. Fabulous songs played brilliantly by the onstage cast, who play all the instruments, live as it happens. I love that big band sound of the early music hall days and brought together with the absolutely gorgeous voice of ‘Charlotte Wakefield’ (wow, she has an amazing voice, yet another to grace the stage of this wonderful theatre) really makes this another superb show.  There’s also the comedy factor thrown in, with all the cast getting involved in proceedings. 

The dancing is wonderful, with a masterful display from Tom Chambers, showing us just how good he is, adding this to his-repertoire, along with the role as Jerry Travers in ‘Top Hat’ (another of my favourite shows). Charlotte adds the glamour to the routines, and can dance pretty well to go with her amazing voice skills. The whole cast were just amazing, so much talent on show. to sing, dance and play all the instruments live on stage, was just out of this world. So enjoyable, with a massive feel good hit straight to your senses. I must admit a few tears were had when Charlotte sang, just incredible, and even better live.

I have to say yet another fabulous musical I really enjoyed, a real shame it wasn’t on for another week, I don’t think one is long enough. Still I managed to get to watch this twice on its final day in the Bay.