A new piece on the life and work of Donizetti from Magichour Productions, featuring live operatic performance
Written by Duncan Hopper and Mike Wells
The music of Donizetti
This new piece on the life and work of Donizetti from Magichour Productions, featuring live operatic performance, is currently on tour around some beautiful Sussex locations. Tonight’s venue, the Regency St George’s church, Kemptown, Brighton, perfectly sets the scene.
Donizetti is dying, his mind filling with memories of life, love and music in his final hours.
Robert Tremayne makes a dashing Donizetti, handsome and magnetic in his prime, fading from glamorous peacock to ruined wreck at the end of life. There’s tragedy and humour here too, with knowing digs at the outrage of lockdown and masks ‘in this day and age’.
As the flirtatious opera singers and battling divas in his life, Karen Orchin fills the generous space with soaring voice, with solo grand piano accompaniment by Simon Gray. Being this close to a soprano delivering some of Donizetti’s greatest arias is a terrific experience.
Sophie Methuen-Turner gives a gentle sweetness as his supportive, loving wife Virginia, and transforms physically and vocally into the formidable Contessa, both commanding and frail.
While the piece reads more as a musical docu-drama than a play and recorded music occasionally played under the spoken word can make a few speeches a little challenging to hear, it’s an intriguing glimpse into key points from the composer’s life and work, with live operatic highlights.