Review: The Independent, July 2012

Review by Anna Picard, The Independent, July 2012

Review by Anna Picard, The Independent, July 2012

Cendrillon @ Blackheath Halls ╕ Alex Brenner , Please Credit (_D7C1716)

Photograph by Alex Brenner

Summer's most regrettable clash came on Wednesday as Blackheath Community Opera's enchanting production of Massenet's Cinderella twinkled to a close 15 minutes before the start of Hervé Niquet's performance of Handel's Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks with Le Concert Spirituel (Prom 7). Where's a jet-pack when you need one? Listening later online, I had to imagine Niquet's trademark gyrations. The sound was fabulous, all gusto and brio and feather-boa trills.

Back at Harry Fehr's cutesome celebrity-culture reading of Perrault's fairy tale, it was time to break open the tissues as fairies of all ages, from primary-school children to pensioners, sang with Sally Silver's Fairy Godmother and a sublime quintet of Trinity Laban students in nighties, pyjamas and wings. From Louise Winter's gloriously vulgar stepmother, to the ditsy sisters of Charlotte Baptie and Kate Howden, Grant Doyle's hen-pecked Pandolfe, and Stephanie Marshall's pouting Prince, this was a treat, stylishly shaped under conductor Nicholas Jenkins, whose apprenticeship with Marc Minkowski showed to great effect. Fairies aside, the evening belonged to soprano Anna Patalong, Cinderella here, Lauretta in Holland Park's recent Gianni Schicchi, a tender and alluring voice.

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