A wonderful production and superior to the HMS Pinafore performance that doubles on the DVD
I like Gilbert and Sullivan very much, the stories to some of their operettas may be a little on the silly side but the lyrics and dialogue are always full of wit and the music is beautiful. I have seen a production of Trial By Jury before, the 1982 D'Oyly Carte production, which was one of the better productions of a very hit and miss series. But I found myself loving this Opera Australia production more, and of the two productions together on the DVD(the other being Opera Australia's HMS Pinafore, which I also enjoyed) I found this the superior production also.
The opera is updated to contemporary business clothes here, but because there was nothing specifically tacky or ugly about it that wasn't an issue, and the courtroom setting was very pleasing and looked like a courtroom. The orchestral playing is full of energy which is ideal for Gilbert and Sullivan, and apart from taking things too fast in Comes the Broken Flower the conducting is just as sprightly. The chorus balance beautifully and don't resort to mugging. The staging always has something interesting going on and doesn't feel dull or stage-bound. The singing is also fine. I personally found Anthony Warlow the best performer in Trial By Jury, the Scottish accent is perhaps not as authentic as it could have been(though he deserves credit for the effort) but he more than makes up for it by a generous, characterful baritone voice-even if he sounds deliberately and again credibly older than Pinafore-, good technique and understanding of the G&S style. He also acts with hilarious sincerity and has no problem with the physical side of the role either. John Bolton-Wood and Richard Alexander come to life even more so than they did in Pinafore, and while one wishes Andrew Jones had a bigger considering how great a voice he has he sings beautifully regardless. David Hobson is a vocally assured and dashing Defendant and Ali McGregor has a lovely voice and is warmer in presence than Tiffany Speight I feel.
Overall, a wonderful performance, well worth catching. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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