Opera Undone: Tosca & La bohème, Trafalgar Studios - ★★★★ - Until March 7, 2020

Photographer: Ali Wright.

Opera Undone aims to bring opera to a new audience. These are shortened versions of the classics, sung in English and with contemporary lyrics and plots. These are not parodies of the originals, but very clever re-imaginings. Tosca is now a story about the Italian mafia, and Michael Georgiou's Scarpia is a very menacing godfather. Indeed in this version, the focus is very much on the psychology of the characters and the deeper look into Scarpia's motivations brings a whole new sense to the themes of loyalty and love. Honey Rouhani beautifully interprets Tosca, and Roberto Barbaro as Cavaradossi did a fine job. For us, however, the real treat was the transformation of La bohème. Casting Mimi as a man brought a completely new sense to the piece, and Philip Lee's interpretation brought a new depth to the part. Roberto Barbaro showcased his amazing talent for characterisation and excellent voice, this time as Rod/Rodolfo. His new version of Che gelida manina was quite wonderful. Hugo Herman-Wilson was an excellent Marcus/Marcello and Fiona Finsbury as Melissa/Musetta had all the sparkle and cheek one hopes for in the flirtatious, and now polyamorous, character. Her rendition of Quando m'en vo' was delightful. Another real high point for us was the quartets which were thoroughly original and totally enjoyable. This is a great evening for opera lovers to see their old favourites in a new light and for opera neophytes to be introduced to the genre's delights.

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until March 7, 2020
Mon - Sat: 7:45 pm, Thu & Sat: 3pm
Trafalgar Studios (Studio 2)
Nearest station: Charing Cross
https://trafalgar-studios.com/shows/opera-undone/

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