Review: Opera Novella, Theatre Royal Brighton

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ANYONE who wasn’t at Opera Novella at the Theatre Royal in Brighton was missing a real treat.

To see so many famous and beautiful songs performed by such talented singers just a few feet away from you was a great way to spend a few hours on a Friday night.

It helped Mr M and I to learn a few more opera songs, as we have only recently started dipping our toes into the pool of classical music and are not very clued up.

The singers also told us anecdotes from performing in the opera, such as if you forget the words in an Italian opera, you can try substituting Italian words for food and hope nobody notices.

We also heard about an extra who was on stage in Sydney and had the job of pretending to shoot the lead character, but missed the signal.

The conductor had started to slow down the music, the lead character then decided to die as time was wearing on, which the extra saw.

The extra then fired the shot - only after the death had taken place.

Amongst the 20 songs we heard were Libiamo nei lieti calici by Verdi, from La Traviata; Largo al factotum, from The Barber of Seville, by Rossini and Nessun dorma, from Turandot by Puccini.

The music was rearranged for a pocket sized orchestra, including just a piano, two violins, a cello, trumpet and one man on the flute, clarinet and piccolo.

The three opera singers were great - enthusiastic, funny, but above all very talented, with performances which had you tapping your feet or feeling shivers run down your spine at the pure beauty in their voices and the music.

If you have been thinking about getting into opera or you’re already an opera buff, I would recommend this.

It gives you chance to try a few out, which could help you decide which full piece you might enjoy and it was brilliant fun!