Review: English Touring Opera at Buxton Opera House

Buxton opera house. La Calisto

Buxton opera house. La Calisto

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The ETO production of Francesco Cavalli’s 17th century Venetian opera La Calisto was a real treat. The music is wonderful, lyrical and sometimes eerie and the ETO’s baroque orchestra, “The Old Street Band”, was great.

The plot is a bizarre tangle of two Greek myths with lots of humour, deception, disguise, and mistaken identity.

The brilliant set looked at first sight like a post-apocalyptic junk yard. Together with the clever lighting and weird costumes it ensured that all the characters were made fun of and pomposity was not possible: Jove was slowly jacked up into heaven on a builders’ trolley by Mercury in shiny pink and turquoise.

The singing was all lovely and these talented singers can really act. George Humphreys was great as Jove with a vast vocal range including his female impersonation. Tai Oney was just right as Endimione and Katie Bray sang beautifully whilst acting the goat with skill and agility.

Only a first rate production can give the audience a good laugh and leave us really moved by the music.