Wobbled out in the cold to the Coli to see new new Richard Jones production of TALES OF HOFFMANN, with helenraven.
The set looked a lot less ugly than in the photos I'd seen, and the cast was excellent. Barry Banks is really on a roll these days. Although, like many tenors, he doesn't exactly cut a romantic figure, he sure can sing, and he acts convincingly, too.
Georgia Jarman did all of the love interest roles, and handled them well. I didn't recognise Clive Bayley or his voice, at first. He did a fine job with the villains, a really strong presence.
Special mention goes to Simon Butteriss for his energetically camp caricatures in the comedy tenor parts, and the very convincing guy in the gorilla suit!
There are any number of versions of HOFFMANN , and I was rather miffed that some of my favourite bits were missing. There were several nice little solos thrown in for Nicklausse, though, and an interesting variation on the finale that I'd not seen before.
I'm also glad to say they didn't cut one of my very favourite arias, SCINTILLE, DIAMANT, although Bayley seemed to be having a slight struggle with catarrh as he sang it. All in all a smashing show, well worth braving the elements for, although the auditorium seemed much less full than usual.
We scored Box K, where I don't remember sitting before, and Fiona commented that the diction of the singers was unusually clear. It was, too; I usually don't see much point in Opera in English, as you can't understand 'em anyway, but they were coming across really crisp. I don't know if Box K is a 'sweet spot' or to credit the singers, but it made a nice change.
It was bitter cold when we got out, and a drag not to be able to walk at a reasonable pace. Luck was in, though, and I had only a moment to wait for a bus home.
I indulged in a bit of a duvet day, today, recoverering from my hospital-related nervous breakdown,huddled up reading. I felt a lucky woman.