Songbook XL

Tapestry and the COC collaborated for yesterday’s concert in the RBA.  The performers were members of the Ensemble Studio.  The material was a mix of numbers from the Tapestry back catalogue plus a couple of songs by COC composer in residence Ian Cusson.

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Vecchio Chris

Richard Jones chose to set his 2009 production of Verdi’s Falstaff in Windsor in 1946.  I suspect it’s driven by similar reasoning to Robert Carsen’s 1950s production.  Falstaff plays out very nicely as a conflict between an older order of things and a more thrusting kind of bourgeoisie and 1940s/50s England works well for that.  The “just after the war” setting also allows Jones to present Fenton as a G.I. which adds another twist to Ford’s distrust of him.  Although the jumping off point for Jones and Carsen is the same the results are quite different.  Jones seems to be operating in the traditions of English farce, à la Brian Rix, or maybe Carry on films,which works pretty well.  Falstaff is a farce rather than a comedy of manners.  So, besides the obligatory entrances and exits, couples caught in flagrante etc we also get a certain geometric precision in the blocking that borders on choreography.  In Act 1 Scene 2, for instance, the ladies rather military perambulation in a garden of very precisely aligned cabbages is doubled up by Brownies and a rowing four countermarching.

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Tcherniakov’s Don Giovanni

Last night Dmitri Tcherniakov’s much anticipated production of Don Giovanni opened at the Four Seasons Centre.  The production is basically a known quantity.  This is its fourth run overall and it was recorded for TV and DVD in Aix-en-Provence; which is a lengthy way of saying that nobody should have been very surprised by what they saw last night.  Inevitably some were.  Rereading my review of the DVD I find I have nothing much to add to what I said there about the first act and the overall concept so I’m going to pretty much going to repeat it here.

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