Comment on Gilbert and Sullivan HMS Pinafore Opera Review by Theater Buff.
Never one to quit I watched a Production of HMS Pinafore on Sky Arts Channel performed by Opera Australia and I quite enjoyed it.
None of the characters where wooden during the TV Production, all where lively.
With the Exception of the Admiral and the old sea dog Dead eye who where brought to life with enthusiasm by the opera stars I saw at the theatre produced by Opera Della Luna , HMS Pinafore on Sky Arts by Opera Australia, was far superior and the rest of the cast in this TV production was comical and fun.
The subtleties of facial expressions and comedy was pulled off by the actors in the Opera Australia with such ease and enjoyment by the main characters.
Even when full on Operatic song was thrust out, the subtle facial expressions made it so I could at least guess what they was whaling about, this was lacking in Opera Della Luna’s production and the comedy expressed in subtle motions was lost.
I will repeat again since I really was impressed with the performance, the Admiral in Opera Della Luna was out standing and no one can match the professional performance by Simon Butteriss, the admiral in the Sky Arts Program wasn’t very good and lacked the comic Fleur that Simon Butteriss gave the Admiral in the live performance, but unfortunately the inability of the other opera singers in Opera Della Luna’s production let down the playful feel to the opera.
Watching HMS Pinafore at my leisure and it not costing me an arm and a leg, I had time to reflect on what it is about opera that irritates me and I believe it’s when opera singers start warbling at an inaudible level and the words seem to become on long (and sometimes very long) globalise mass of noise, I can’t understand a word they are saying and I find it uncomfortable to listen to.
I find it frustrating when I can’t make out the words to something I want to understand and enjoy.
It’s like being shouted at in another language you don’t speak.
I liked all the songs that wasn’t full on operatic in HMS Pinafore and found the show to be enjoyable during those performances.
The fun of the characters were expressed much more enthusiastically by Opera Australia, I think this is the main area that Opera Della Luna fell short, the main characters (being the captain, captains daughter, young sailor and Buttercup) performed without any sense of humor or warmth for their characters, they were all way to stodgy and formal, which isn’t what Guilbert and Sullivan are about (I have recently learned, thanks Sky Arts :)).
Guilbert and Sullivan wrote there operas with comical sarcastic humor making a mockery of the politics of the time, one thing I do know, humour can pass the test of time and from what I have seen Gilbert and Sullivan’s essence of the opera certainly has (if not the storyline), but for me the warbling has to go before I can thoroughly enjoy opera.
Opera for me is like a earlier version of Rap music that doesn’t even have a good beat and is sung in an unpleasant high pitch.
I’m not an opera fan I think I’ll stick with musicals, but at least after seeing a good production of HMS Pinafore I could appreciate the experience on some level and we (the whole family watched it) got quite a few laughs while watching Opera Australia, which is the same enjoyment and fun we should have had from watching HMS Pinafore by Opera De Luna at the theatre.
If Opera Australia had had Simon Butteriss as their admiral and a better actor for the old sea dog Dead Eye, the production would have been complete without flaw.