You know it’s going to be a good evening when, having descended the stairs into the bowels of a building to locate the gents, you open the door not to be met with the foul stench of long-forgotten toilets but by a singer tuning up in readiness for the forthcoming show. Such is one of the pleasures of the Royal Academy of Music Opera Scenes events – nobody is so far into their careers that they have disappeared up their own fundament. In the half-time bar queue conversations were being had between students about who was doing what and only once was the word ‘darling’ uttered. The performances weren’t bad either. That’s the other pleasure of this sort of thing: genuinely talented folk impressing with what they can do.
Relocated to the intimate surroundings of the RADA Studios there was a close to full house crowd to watch ten episodes designed to showcase the range of the performers. I’ll leave it to others to identify technically who was best and who will be wowing the world stage in years to come.
We had ten scenes with the staging set primarily for Nixon in China, which opened proceedings, and from which motifs and ideas recurred. My amateur eye and ear were impressed by Emily Garland as Manon and by Alex Otterburn’s booming baritone interruptions; I liked the interplay between Alys Roberts and Emma Stannard in their scene from The Cunning Little Vixen; John Porter sang ‘la dona e mobile’ beautifully; everyone involved made Les Troyens magnificent. I’ll stop picking names out now. It was all good.
The travels of the opera company – albeit within the environs of Zone 1 – continue now as their next ‘home’ will be in the cavernous Ambika P3 for Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night before a spot of Monteverdi in Shoreditch. After the quality of this evening, both look very tempting indeed.