Abduction from the Seraglio

Saturday, September 14, 2002

It was a joy to return to the 'home' of this enterprising organisation. One is sure of superb music from Mozart, less predictable is what director Richard White will produce at the Old Meeting House.

It was a joy to return to the 'home' of this enterprising organisation. One is sure of superb music from Mozart, less predictable is what director Richard White will produce at the Old Meeting House.

World events suggested it would be indelicate to retain the Turkish Muslim setting so he has updated the action to the 1960s and the psychedelic set, replete with the 'love', sets the tone.

The orchestra, directed by Patricia Clouting, took a little while to settle but thereafter gave a warm backing to soloists and the 'horticultural' overtones of the chorus and the whole has an overlay of humour amongst the passions and anguish.

Well matched main characters have Glenn Van Ellis, a full-voiced tenor, as Belmonte and Pedrillo, his man, lovably played and sung by David Burrows as the lovers of Constanza's (Julie Roberts) pure and well-projected coloratura and Blonde (Suzanne Chapman) another clear and agile soprano.

Trevor Thurston is powerful vocally and physically as the security manager of the sect - whose leader, Mr Selim, is played by Matthew Clark rather like a pathetic Dali Lama - which eventually reaches its aim "to achieve a better world". You may love it or loathe it, it's certainly different but a very slick production and one of CO's best.

MICHAEL DRAKE
Eastern Daily Press