The Gondoliers

Date 21st February 2013
Society Godalming Operatic Society
Venue The Godalming Borough Hall
Type of Production Comic Opera
Director Pat O’Connell
Musical Director Robin Wells
Choreographer Rebecca Lucas 'Cachucha Dance'


Author: Betty Haslam District 18

The first production of this G & S favourite in London in1889 was a great success.   On a cold and frosty night the audience were transported to sunny Venice where the opening number of 'List and Learn' coupled with the colourful costumes and lovely singing of the Contadine and the Gondoliers was the perfect antidote to the weather.  The arrival of Gary Maslen (Marco Palmieri) and Richard Arthur (Guiseppe Palmieri) in search of brides lifted the tempo. Complementing each other with superb comedy and singing performances.   Their brides, Jenny Sanders (Gianetta) and Rebecca Lucas (Tessa) were perfectly matched and also displayed their considerable singing, acting and comedy talents especially in the well known quartet ‘In a contemplative fashion'.   The arrival of Simon Cakebread (The Duke of Plaza-Toro) Nora Price (The Duchess) and Ruth Parr (Casilda) accompanied by Richard Hales as a very accomplished timpanist attendant (Luiz) brought warmth to the audience with their comedy and singing.  A special mention of Hammy Sparks (Don Alhambro, The Grand Inquisitor) who gave a very good performance mixing pathos and comedy and demonstrating his acting ability.   Well supported by the rest of the cast and the chorus. Director Pat O’Connell always gets the best out of his principals and chorus and tonight was no exception, with excellent innovative highlights including the men’s chorus at the start of Act 2,  In a contemplative Fashion, and the Gavotte.  Musical Director Robin Wells brought the best out of a very good orchestra.  Of especial note was his control of volume allowing the principals to be heard and swelling to a crescendo when accompanying the chorus in full voice.  Stage Manager Jill Regan and her team,  Paul Lazell (scenery), Alexander Lyon (lighting design) produced two sets that enhanced the production.  Notable was the well constructed Gondola which glided on to the stage.