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Opera in a Kebab Van?!?

It is opera but not as you know it. Kebabs 'v' Veggies and a serving of romance - sounds a little bit bonkers!

I love something a little bit quirky and a comic opera set in a Cardiff kebab van sounded right up my street.

The Welsh National Opera have cleverly kicked this classic Donizetti Opera into the 21st  Century. The essence of the story remains the same – youth and beauty outwitting age and ignorance but Director Daisy Evans has added a clever commentary on modern issues such as the environment, healthy eating and world peace.

A Cardiff University Alumni and ‘Opera virgin’ – I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this bonkers production. From the welsh colloquialisms to the Gavin & Stacey wardrobes to the dodgy kebab van – I was completely awash with memories. The orchestra interaction on stage (rather than hidden in the pit) and brilliant song writing (I understood every word of it) took away any doubt that opera isn’t only for the elite.

I’m clearly no expert but the four lead actors can hold a note or ten. The comedy timing was ‘tidy’ and had me laughing out loud as the poor deluded Pasquale played by Andrew Shore was led into the modern world of kale smoothies and recycling.

‘Comic Opera’ is a fab way of dipping your toe into this musical genre and I can highly recommend getting tickets for the final performance on Sat 22nd June.

 

We caught up with Norina aka Harriet Eyley to find out more.

What attracted you to this production of Don Pasquale?

This piece is exciting in so many ways. It’s so far from the norm pulling strands from everywhere to try and bring it into the 21st Century.

Tell me about your character Norina.

She is a role I’ve always wanted to play. Musically the opera is just exquisite and I love the cheekiness of the character. This will be a very different Norina, though, and I think that’s great. She’s a vegan who wants to change the world.

By performing in many smaller venues, we are hoping to introduce new audiences to opera

In Don Pasquale, we will have the musicians on stage with us and I’m looking forward to that. It will be a whole new dynamic. The orchestra is usually confined to the pit so I think this will be fun and give them a taste of what it’s actually like to be on stage. It will be great for the audience, too, to see all the elements come together and collaborate on stage.

When did music and performing develop from a love to a career for you?

I’ve been involved in music since I was 10 or 11. My schools were always brilliant for music and I was always involved in the choirs and orchestras. Then I started singing lessons and eventually got scouted by The Royal Academy of Music and thought ‘if they think I can do this, then I have to go for it’. So at 17 I actually moved to the Academy and decided that if I have this gift then I need to use it and make a career out of it. I couldn’t live life without music being at the heart of it.

Are you looking forward to heading out on the road and visiting the likes of Norwich Playhouse?

I’ve never done a tour before and I’m very much looking forward to having a run of shows with Don Pasquale. It will give me the chance to fit into the role of Norina and see how that role develops on stage over time. It is very exciting and I feel very lucky.

Book tickets: £20-£23, Norwich Playhouse, Thurs 20 – Sat 22 June

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