Die Fledermaus Opera Della Luna

Jan Leeming

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

DIE FLEDERMAUS - Opera Della Luna

Date: 15th May 2011

DIE FLEDERMAUS – Opera Della Luna

Some friends asked if I’d like to go with them to the lovely little Theatre Royal in Margate.

It was established by Royal Patent in 1786 and opened on the 27th June, 1787. It is the second oldest theatre operating in Great Britain and is also the oldest un-restored theatre in the country, its splendid auditorium dating from the 1874 designs by J T Robinson.
I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed the evening.

Opera della Luna, founded in 1994, is a British touring theatre troupe of actor-singers focusing on comic works. Led by artistic director Jeff Clarke, it takes its name from Haydn's operatic setting of Goldoni's farce Il mondo della luna. The company presents innovative, small-scale productions and adaptations of Gilbert and Sullivan, other comic opera and operetta, in English. chorus, accompanied by a small orchestral ensemble.

Apart from having a great time, I was particularly impressed with the costumes and scenery. They were only doing a one-night stand and then moving on. Having toured in my younger days as an actress, I know how tiring these gigs can be. When you consider the sparsity of scenery and costume in the opera I saw in Paris, it made the achievements of this little group even the more admirable.
They had a small live ‘orchestra’ which greatly enhanced the evening.

The performance was slightly modernized – the maid at the opening turns off the Radio and says ‘I hate Classic FM’ and she’s using a vacuum cleaner but this didn’t inhibit one’s enjoyment – just added to the fun.

And the cast all had very good voices. I only have one tiny criticism. In operetta there’s quite a lot of spoken dialogue and the women had such high pitched ‘speaking voices’ it was difficult to follow what they were saying. That apart we thought the production excellent and can’t wait for their next visit. That’s if the theatre survives. It’s not well patronized and yet has some very good productions. My friends saw Hamlet there a while ago and were very impressed. Margate today doesn’t appear to have much of a theatre going audience – on our night the audience was mostly grey-headed.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.