Barefoot Opera – Dinner with Figaro
On the west side of St Leonard’s on Sea, Hastings lies a charming enclave of imposing Victorian villas in an area called Maze Hill. One of these on Sunday night was the venue for a unique opera experience by the Barefoot Opera Company performed under the direction of singer and director Jenny Miller, whose home hosted the event. The first half of the evening consisted of excerpts from Mozart’s Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro. The second half gave us an exquisite taste of Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona.
The performances were given in a lofty and atmospheric drawing room with piano and double base. The audience, of about fifty lucky souls, are the set. Two young singers, in full character and costume, entranced those present with a commitment and flair that defied their years. The soprano Chiara Vinci trained with Jenny Miller and has worked with Loughborough Festival and the Welsh National Youth Opera. She has an exquisite voice and exceptional acting skills. Oscar Dom Victor Castellino is an Indian baritone who trained with Patricia Rozario at the Royal College of Music and who already has an impressive string of awards under his belt. He has a range, tonality and stage presence which guarantees some very great things to come.
Under Miller’s fluent, imaginative and highly accessible direction these two performers dazzled with flawless excecution generating a fusion of music and theatre which is only rarely achieved. The key lay in the immediacy afforded by having the material presented literally within inches of the audience. There is no room for manoeuvre with timing, intonation and articulation at such close quarters. However, with perfomers of this calibre the effect was nothing short of generating a completely unique new way of hearing and seeing opera.
Scottish Opera please, please look and listen into Jenny Miller and these singers. Packed venues of new young converts guaranteed.
reproduced by kind permission of the author – Denham Macdougall 25/10/16.
The performers: Chiara Vinci, Lucy Mulgan, Nicola Rose, Oscar Castellino, Michael Spenceley
Director: Jenny Miller
MD: Nicola Rose