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Tickets are no longer on sale
Not suitable for younger children. Under 5's not admitted.
Approximately 2 hours 50 minutes, including two intervals. Times given are for guidance purposes only and can change.
Welsh National Opera
Welsh National Opera
Merry Widow - Your Comments
Tue 29 Nov & Thu 1 December 2005
Sung in English
29 Nov 6.15pm
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7 people have left comments on Welsh National Opera. If you've seen the show at The Mayflower, why not add your own?
Unfortunately we could only obtain rear upper circle tickets - leg room is simply unacceptable and we are relatively small people. Several people around us were making similar comments!
A common complaint re the Mayflower is regarding the acoustics - we found them to be just about ok.
The production was 'satisfactory' - we found ourselves to be witnessing the show rather than being integral to it.
Potentially a lovely show, but marred by appalling sound and acoustics. Not just my comments and we heard several similar grumbles. Even in front stalls much dialogue was unintelligible. Words of most songs drowned by a too powerful orchestra. Principals either needed to project better (though Danilo was great) or be miked. I'm aware that professionals don't like to be miked other than in open air. Surely better to have miked balanced sound than dissatisfied patrons. Lesley G as always put in a superb charismatic performance, but it was a real struggle to hear even her at times.
We too had rear circle seats with too little leg room. The lady next to me left in the first interval as her bad knee was hurting too much. The singing was virtually inaudible over the orchestra. The production managed to make Lehar dreary. Even Lesley G appeared to be a better dancer than a singer. Can't blame just the acoustics as we heard every word of The Barber on Wednesday from the back of the circle.
Lesley Garrett spoke and sung with breathtaking clarity - every word could be heard despite the total absence of artificial amplification.
It was a joy to listen to music the way it was intended. Sublime performances cast a potent spell.
This operetta had been much publicised by the WNO as starring Lesley Garrett as the vivacious Hanna Glawari, and was met by mixed opinions.
The sets were at times confusing and looked cheap. With just accounting the set design, the production didn't sparkle. It was interesting to see that the sets didn't have much height to them, which made them look even smaller. The first act looked like some strange hotel, the second too small to be Hanna's luxurious apartment and the third very strange. Nevertheless Agostino Cavalca has created some gorgeous costumes which do the production much credit.
As the leading lady Lesley certainly does not disappoint vocally. She shines in this production showing her experience in the role, having performed it for her ROH debut. Likewise her dancing is very good, possibly from 'Strictly Come Dancing'. When speaking Lesley used her own accent, which detracted from the persona of Hanna; and as the operetta has much dialogue it was a bit off-putting. Lesley was best at was highlighting all the comedy in the role, to the delight of the audience – both were clearly enjoying themselves.
Danilowitsch was played skilfully by Jeffrey Black, but seemed impressionable in certain scenes only. Notably when Jeffrey is first seen acting drunk is fairly amusing – and in Act 3 the chemistry between Lesley and Jeffrey is surprisingly believable.
This operetta can be accused of stereotyping roles, but they were played perfectly in particular by Donald Maxwell, Howard Kirk and John King. All played men with status and very little knowledge or sense brilliantly, the perfect comic trio to a certain extent!
Worthy of mention is Geoffrey Dolton's unique, but hilarious, portrayal of Njegus the hunchbacked embassy secretary who seems to be in the wrong places at the wrong times (a bit like the fan!). Out of all the roles Dolton definitely got the most positive response from the audience.
This production was let down by poor sets, but had a very strong cast. The Merry Widow sparkled in this production, but hopefully when it is revived the sets can be changed.
Don't forget The Merry Widow will be broadcast on BBC2 at 12:20pm on 30th December.
Felt the stage work could have been better - did seem a bit amdram, but other than that the show itself was brilliant. Both my husband and I enjoyed the show, especially Leslie G and her lead man. But the rest of the cast were good also. Can we have more of Lesley G sooner, rather than later.
(Broadcast BBC 2 on 30th December 2005)
The Merry Widow was brilliant, with an outstanding cast. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.
Drs. W. Tuunter
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