Pub opera that tastes success
PUBLISHED: 16:28 09 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:53 24 August 2010
AN anecdote from a producer of one of the High Road s most incongruous experiences has offered an insight into why a pub opera show has been extended until spring, writes Andy McCorkell. Apparently one of the regulars of The Cock Tavern pub in Kilburn H
AN anecdote from a producer of one of the High Road's most incongruous experiences has offered an insight into why a pub opera show has been extended until spring, writes Andy McCorkell.
Apparently one of the 'regulars' of The Cock Tavern pub in Kilburn High Road, was, despite his more than inebriated state of mind, so taken by La Bohème - the second act of which is set in the bar opposite the beer pumps - that he persuaded staff to allow him to join the theatre audience upstairs to watch the final act free of charge.
As the urban legend now has it, at the moment that the lead, Mimi, falls consumptively to the floor at the end of this galling tragedy, the poor soul broke down and wept floods of tears in an apparent epiphany.
The script of Puccini's classic opera has been rewritten and translated into English to include as many references to the High Road as is possible and in a refreshing and imaginative reworking, the opening act is set in a student flat where the tenants are constantly pursued by their landlord for the rent.
But this is not just a publicity stunt plumbing the depths of the gritty street life of Kilburn, there are some heavyweight performances that have been brought to the production.
The show has received rave reviews - in fact, the production company OperaUpClose has just announced an extended run until March 20.
Artistic director, Adam Spreadbury-Maher formed the company to bring opera to a new audience in a uniquely rewarding experience that is as worthy dramatically and musically as any opera you are ever likely to see.
Those inclined to feel sniffy at the prospect of pub opera, might want to consider that the conductor Andrew Charity trained at the Royal College of Music and London Opera Centre and has worked as musical director for the National Theatre and RSC - not to mention breakthrough talents of a glittering cast of future stars.
For tickets from £5-15 at The Cock Tavern Theatre, 125 Kilburn High Road call 08444 771 000 or visit www.cocktaverntheatre.com (Tuesday - Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday matinee 2pm, Sunday matinee at 3pm).
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