Prokoviev's The Love for Three Oranges was new to me. I know Prokoviev best from Peter and the Wolf, the Classical Symphony and the ballet Romeo and Juliet, all of which I like very much, and only knew The Love for Three Oranges by reputation. Whether it becomes a personal favourite time will tell, but it is a fun opera, the bizarre story adds to that feel and the music is great, biting but wholly memorable. This was a wonderful production, like the opera it is very unique and entertaining. The sets are minimalist, but that adds to the opera's somewhat surreal tone. The staging is not what you call traditional, but there is logic behind it- nothing here screams of distaste- and scenes like the cook and her deadly ladle and Fata Morgana giving the Prince the curse of the Three Oranges make a powerful impact. The slapstick is funny and gives the production a slightly silly but always engaging feel to it. The orchestral playing gives the score its bite while making an attractive sound all the same and the conducting has no problems either, very brisk but again it adds to the entertainment value. The cast is made up of performers that can not only sing but also act. That is especially true of the late great Gabriel Bacquier, whose warm voice and characterful acting boasts another fine performance from him. Jean-Luc Viala is an appealing Prince, while Michele Lagrange's Fata Morgana brings chills to the spine. Vincent Le Texier and Helene Parraguin scheme effectively as Leandro and Clarice, while Georges Gautier's Truffaldino is sympathetic and Beatrice Uria-Monzon and Consuelo Caroli sing beautifully as Smeraldina and Ninette respectively. In conclusion, I loved it so much that I'm going to see if I can watch Ryland Davies' production and see how it holds up in comparison. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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