Lowry, Salford – 10 March 2018. Reviewed by Marcus Richardson
Un Ballo In Maschera is the third and final show from Opera North’s Fatal Passions, that I had the honour of watching. The opera, written by Verdi, follows a king who is doomed to die by the hand of his best friend. The visuals in this play are beautiful and are given this 1950s sense from the costumes.
I was impressed by the other two operas a lot, so Un Ballo In Maschera had a lot to live up to. The lead character Gustavo played by Rafael Rojas, is a king who is adored and equally hated, his vocals commanded the stage and took on this heavy role that is built with depth and personality. The King is in love Amelia played Adrienn Miksch, who is married to Count Anckarström played by Phillip Rhodes, this tale of forbidden lust is what leads to the Kings death. The vocals that the whole cast gave to the show was absolutely stunning, the very large chorus made scenes such as the ball fantastic, I was blown away by the attention and perfection each actor had on stage when there was a lot happening, nothing seemed out of place. The actor who stood out for me was Tereza Gevorgyan who played the kings assistant, Oscar, when in stage she brought this energy and made the scenes interesting and we as an audience could laugh at points during the tragedy.
The stage was just as amazing as the characters, with a tilted stage that has secrets that made it able to have lots of sofas on stage and a red curtain that becomes a wall during a scene where the king gets its fortune read. The music by Verdi is powerful and gave these scores that brought the emotion of love, power and tragedy. The conductor Richard Farnes led the Orchestra and made sure that they honoured Verdi, they worked in time and complimented the vocals perfectly.
I have enjoyed all three shows by Opera North very much, the fatal passion theme captured how love can be deadly. There is something so beautiful about the opera, from the visuals to the vocals, the shows always blow me away, but this time I was blown off this planet, the company has a lot to be proud of and I hope to see more of their shows in the future.