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Beethoven – Fidelio

Leonore – Yvonne Howard
Florestan – Tom Randle
Marzelline – Sarah Redgwick
Jaquino – Nicky Spence
Rocco – Stephen Richardson
Don Pizarro – Philip Joll
Don Fernando – Njabulo Madlala
First Prisoner – Peter Kent
Second Prisoner – Henry Grant Kerswell

Opera Holland Park Chorus
City of London Sinfonia/Peter Robinson

Olivia Fuchs – Director
Janie Vartan – Designer
Colin Grenfell – Lighting design
Claire Whistler – Choreographer
Sades Robinson – Costume supervisor

Holland Park Theatre, Kensington, London, July 2010

A welcome revival - their first revival of any Opera Holland Park productions, a 2003 triumph of which we wrote "- - Has Holland Park Opera appreciated that they have a triumph on their hands which must be preserved on DVD? A live filming, peacocks and all, with a suitable introduction to show the splendid 'high tensile canopy' (illustrated) and its surroundings, and if possible with some of the cuts restored, would make a memorable souvenir - - - ".

Not quite so overwhelming on second viewing; has Olivia Fuchs allowed gratuitous violence to increase? Fashionable now (c.f. Classical Opera Company's Zaide), it failed to stir.

We were comfortable with the singing and playing of the City of London Sinfonia, but it is interesting to reflect that after I was absorbed by Jacquino's fidgeting in his office, I suddenly realised that i had ceased listening to the overture for some minutes; I still prefer overtures to be free of staged "commentaries" which rarely illuminate anything.

Many cast changes since 2003, with Yvonne Howard and Sarah Redgwick re-engaged – with their performances possibly enhanced. Nicky Spence sung strongly, but his behaviour towards his intended - and expected- was so very boorish that their reconciliation at the end looked unlikely...

That apart, well worth seeing for all who like their operas politicised.

Many reviews, mainly positive; WhatsOnStage's incorporates many of our reservations.

Peter Grahame Woolf