11th February 2016
Aireborough G & S Society
YEADON TOWN HALL
Type of Production
Author: SALLY HOLMES
I liked this fresh approach that Aireborough Gilbert & Sullivan delivered in their production of The Gondoliers. Billed as one of the most popular and best loved of operas it was the first time I have ever seen it, so for me it was a very appealing production, which had beautifully bright costumes and hats (by Janice Summers and Jane Clough) and “of the era” hairstyles which brought the whole stage to life right from the start.
All principals played their parts with confidence, and their singing was superb. We were very quickly introduced to Gianetta and Tessa, played by Elaine Richmond and Gillian Fawcett, who were brilliantly “partnered” by Marco and Giuseppe played by Paul Richmond and Michael Fawcett, the two “just married” Gondolier brothers – who are, in real life, married to their “stage” wives. They all gave pleasing performances and their singing - whether it be quartet, duet or solo - was a delight to listen to.
The Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro, played by Edward Thornton and Joan Kay played their parts with expertise and clarity. Their singing voices are both rich and crystal clear, so every word sung could be heard.
Luiz, the Duke’s attendant, played by Steven Greenwood had a beautiful tenor voice and the duets with Casilda, played by Stella Whitehouse were stunning.
The Grand Inquisitor Don Alhambrs del Bolero was majestically played by Donald Stephenson. He has great stage presence and a beautifully strong striking voice, both in libretto and song.
There were also some excellent performances from Andrew Baxter as Antonio, Elvira Suess as Fiametta and Pam Barlow as Inez, all who have impressive singing voices.
The chorus singing was really where this production excelled. It was absolutely astounding. Maureen Earl as Musical Director was responsible for putting the cast through their paces to sing this not so easy score. What a fantastic job she did - her orchestra was pleasing to listen to and they played sympathetically so that the cast members were never overpowered by the volume of the instruments.
With stunning scenery by Philip Hill, Heather Field and Paul Dennison, lighting by Paul Dennison and sound by John Trenouth all adding to the atmosphere of this production it only remains for me to say congratulations to everyone involved.
Michael Lofthouse, Director, must be very proud of the entire company with this production which, in my opinion, was both visually and audibly stunning.