Date 20th February 2016
Society Bath Opera
Venue King Edward's School, Bath
Type of Production Opera
Director John Palmer
Musical Director Peter Blackwood


Author: Dee Way

This was an evening of exceptional music and a dramatic story with some wonderful singing In presenting an opera as a theatrical event, rather than a concert version, it needs to be very dramatic in visual presentation. Much of the production did this well, with the events on the thrust stage area particularly well seen and appreciated. The music and singing in this production were very good, with good matching between the expression of the orchestra and soloists. 

The stage was well adapted to the production, with a large rosta projection into the audience, decorated scenic gauze hangings at the back of the stage with the orchestra positioned behind.  Changing illustrations of facets of the story were projected onto the upper half of the gauzes, to help with the telling of the story, including the dagger vision and the kings of Banquo’s line. The feast table was ingenious – a cloth table held taut by four of the ladies chorus. Burnham Woods was also well done, although leaving the branches strewn on the stage proved somewhat hazardous to cast members later. Banquo’s ghost scene was good, with the repeat after the interval without the ghost very effective.

The lighting and sound were well done throughout the production, with entrances onto the thrust well lit. The storm sound was well done and believable. The orchestra were well attuned to the volume of the singing and the size of the venue in most places. The overture and incidental music was allowed to swell nicely to add to the dramatic effect.

The costumes for the principal singers and the men were very good, I felt, with an authentic feel of roughness, sagging hose with cross bindings and chainmail helmets. The women’s chorus looked a little odd, in their flowing robes and veils. However, the adaptation of the costumes, for example for Malcolm as his rank changed, was nicely done and the night scene and feast were believable.

This was a successful and entertaining evening of music and drama worked around one of Shakespeare’s darker plays.