National Operatic & Dramatic Association
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20th April 2012


A590 Theatre Group


The Forum, Barrow?

Type of Production



Graham E Barker

Musical Director

Paul Bryden


Author: Katharine Carradus

Choreographer: Cassie Curtis – Smith

This was the first time I had seen this Elton John / Tim Rice adaption of this romantic / tragic opera.

The story of a Nubian princess captured and enslaved by the Egyptians, she falls in love with Radames, Captain of the Egyptian army. Verdi wrote the Grand Opera to commemorate the opening of the Suez canal, although the canal opened on time the opera didn’t, its premiere was at the Cairo Opera house on Christmas Eve 1871.

What a superb evening’s entertainment was in store for the audience. The Forum had been transformed with a stage extension and the seating on most sides, nearly in the round, with the orchestra seated at the back of the stage.

There were some fine performances from all the principles. Karen Mitchell in the title role of Aida was exceptional, her singing and acting were quite superb, and Christopher Barker as Radames gave possibly the best performance I have seen him perform, quite remarkable. Also, I very much enjoyed their duets, with some lovely tender moments.

I was very impressed with Hayley Dent playing Princess Amneris, very good vocals. Also Rob Halfpenny made the part of Mereb his own, with strong singing and acting. Amonasro – Scott McGuckin, Pharaoh – Shaun Whittam, Zoser – Dave Stockton, and Nehebka – Jessica Kent, all did credit to their roles.

It was good to see the young people performing well on stage especially the small ones on the front row, we need these up and coming thespians. There was generally good diction from the cast, making both the dialogue and singing easy to understand, this is so very important.

I thought that this was a captivating production, with a great orchestra who played this wonderful music to perfection, also good choreography, sound, lighting and costumes.

The cast deserved their applause at the finale.

Thank you for your hospitality and well done.