REVIEW: Aida:Verdi



Ellen Kent Productions

Connaught Theatre

My second Ellen Kent Opera in a week (lucky me) and it’s been fun to catch this new company  at the beginning of their six month tour. It’s clear that Kent has gathered a superb group of young singers together along with an orchestra which has the vitality and energy to bring Verdi’s music to an appreciative audience.

aida-5-ladiesWith flames spinning and High Priestesses processing the grand procession was fun with some delightful and spry dancers from local youngsters which delighted my companion.  Conductor Nicolea Dohotaru brings the orchestra to form, keeping it bobbing along and allowing the textures of Verdi’s highly emotive score to lay a solid subtle foundation for the singers to work over.  Ecaterina Danu is captivating as Aida and brings real passion to this tormented and conflicted role, Giorgio Meladze as love interest Radames filled the auditorium with his rich voice and the pair’s loving and ultimately tragic duets were highlight of the evening. Liza Kadelnik’s Amneris – Aida’s vengeful rival – was great fun and Vadym Chernihovskyi impressed again with his rich rolling and sensual baritone. He really is a superb singer and impressed me again last night with his control and range.   Kent’s chorus is strong this year, Aida needs that, Victor Donos’s work as choral master has given the right amount of volume to this strong line up, giving us the necessary oomph for Verdi’s music.

Kent’s trademark style of splendour, glamour and stuffing in as much pomp, activity and energy as possible on the stage works well with Aida, and gave it the much needed epic feel. With some clever use of lighting the final scenes were filed with crepuscular claustrophobia and fitted the lover’s demise perfectly. For a synopsis of the plot of Aida see here

This is a lovely production of Aida and pleased the Eastbourne audience last night.  It was well performed, emotionaly honest  with the cast dedicated and giving their all, the Eastbourne audience was behaving themselves and the whole evening being a wonderful night out at this lovely theatre.  With added singers and extras from local Theatre Workshop it’s engaging and nice to see young people being given an opportunity to perform on a professional stage with such superb singers and musicians.

aida-new-2-1024x681It’s a short hop on the train and a superb drive over to the great value Connaught Theatre which is just off Eastbourne Seafront and the ticket prices and bar prices alone will make up the savings on the train or driving costs,  ( free parking too, right outside!)  As we motored back over Beachy Head last night, the silvery moon shimmering in Cuckmere Haven’s meandering river and my slightly tipsy companion discussing poor Aida’s fate and the odd beige body stockings some of the cast worse to indicate their Egyptianess… it struck me that there’s more to a night out than the show itself. Eastbourne’s Connaught Theatre Delivers!


For full tour details see the Ellen Kent website here


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