First things first, Fraser Grant’s translation in this intimate production of Cosi is very witty. Set in contemporary times the use of internet dating and references to ‘Facebook Status’ makes the story relevant to a modern non-operatic audience.
This, with a piece like Cosi, is an achievement. Often in a traditional production the boys can seem very callous and the girls unbelievably stupid by failing to recognize their partners and then seeking forgiveness. In this production we warm to the characters and almost worry what will happen to them.
The wooing of the girls in the second act and their inner struggles with their consciences is played convincingly and for once the ending is credible and believable.
The singing is of a high standard throughout with no weak links, but Gemma Morsley as Dorabella stands out. Occasionally the ensemble could be better balanced with a greater dynamic range to bring out the subtleties in the music and text.
Ian Shaw controls the show from the piano with great skill. The tempi are crisp and lively. The recitatives are well handled and the piano playing very accomplished.
The staging is always imaginative and effective. The singers move well on stage and the whole show bristles with energy. Overall, a fantastic evening of humour, pathos and beautiful music.
- David Norman