03 Dec 2009
OperaUpClose: Puccini in the pub
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
Stephen Moss [The Guardian, 3 December 2009]
Puccini didn’t write any music for police sirens, but their appearance in the tender first act of La Bohème is by no means offputting once you get used to them. In fact they feel completely appropriate for the dodgy area in which the louche flat of our four bohemians is located. The composer had in mind the Left Bank in Paris, but the opera translates remarkably well to the upstairs room of the Cock Tavern in Kilburn, north-west London, where a young cast are rehearsing for next week’s opening, accompanied by sirens screeching through an open window.