Mike Leigh’s opera debut with Pirates of Penzance gets mixed reception
10 May 2015
From the section Entertainment & Arts
The Pirates of Penzance had its first night at the Coliseum in London on Saturday
Mike Leigh’s first stab at directing opera has received qualified praise from the critics, with one calling the production “a jolly good show”.
His staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, wrote the Telegraph’s reviewer, is “directed and performed with meticulous care”.
Rupert Christiansen, though, doubted it would prove “a perennial crowd-puller”.
The Guardian’s critic also expressed reservations, saying there is “no major reassessment, no real surprises”.
“While [Leigh’s] debut certainly isn’t a disaster, it’s not an outstanding, insightful success either,” wrote Andrew Clements.
“There’s nothing radical about the way in which any of the characters is conceived [and] the dancing [is] a bit on the homespun side.”
Leigh explored Gilbert and Sullivan’s creative partnership in his 1999 film Topsy Turvy but has never directed opera on stage before.
Leigh’s most recent film was a biopic of English artist JMW Turner
First staged in 1879, The Pirates of Penzance tells of a pirate apprentice and his love for Mabel, the daughter of a high-ranking officer.
The latter character sings the comic opera’s best-known tune, a ‘patter song’ that begins with “I am the very model of a modern Major-General”.
According to Christiansen, Leigh “has played it straight” with a “traditionally interpreted” …read more
Source:: BBC Entertainment