Theatre Review: Let’s Make an Opera/Little Sweep

The co-production by Pacific Opera Victoria and the Belfry Theatre was a hilarious good time.

Conductor Guiseppe Pietraroia leads the audience in song in Pacific Opera Victoria and the Belfry Theatre's co-production of Let's Make an Opera/Little Sweep.

Conductor Guiseppe Pietraroia leads the audience in song in Pacific Opera Victoria and the Belfry Theatre's co-production of Let's Make an Opera/Little Sweep.

A hilarious good time flowed through the packed Stewart Theatre for the weekend opening of The Little Sweep/Let’s Make And Opera.

A co-production of Pacific Opera Victoria and The Belfry theatre, Little Sweep breaks new ground in combining both a play and an audience-participating opera in one.

Soprano Charlotte Corwin was flawless throughout and her acting in the first act as a school teacher/vixen drew great laughs. Giles Tompkins, originally nervous about acting without music, delivered comical and confident performances as both an actor and opera star.

The youth performers had some surprising standouts in Riccardo Fabris and Tori Farkas who showed a great deal of vocal power as did Molly Lydon and Jacob Holloway. Apart from some opening night jitters, all of the youth performers showed great promise and poise. In the face of their seasoned adult cast mates, they delivered solid performances with few exceptions.

The suspense and angst of the little sweep’s escape from Foul Frank felt a little anti-climactic as every near exposure of his hiding places (both of which were within chests) were quickly thwarted. Otherwise, Britten’s intention of community involvement was perfectly executed by director Rachel Peake and the cast.

Conductor Guiseppe Pietraroia stole the show as he trained and then conducted a very green audience for its part in singing four of the opera’s songs. It was a task filled with teasing, which he and his nearly 300 protégés delighted in. He went on to conduct everyone in the theatre, and the orchestra did a fantastic job despite their spatial restrictions.

If you’ve never taken part in an opera that includes audience participation don’t miss your chance with this weekend’s final public performances. You and your party will be entertained by this light-hearted performance as you try not to laugh at one another’s singing.

Sweep continues this week with performances at 7:30pm, Fri. and Sat. March 8-9 and Sun. and March 10 at 1:30pm at The Belfry Theatre. Tickets at belfry.bc.ca. M

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