Friday, June 20, 1986

Full of sparkle

Die Fledermaus 
Chelmsford Opera Group
Civic Theatre

Nicolette Molnar’s Die Fledermaus, like the best champagne, kept its sparkle right to the end. Sponsored by Lloyd’s Bank, Chelmsford Opera Group’s production at the Civic last week had a predominantly youthful cast who made the most of the lively humour and the frothy plot.
Martin Spencer was an elegantly effete Eisenstein, flirting expertly at the masked ball with his own wife [Patricia Cameron, who sang beautifully as the fun-loving Rosalinde].
It was a real pleasure to be able to take the excellence of the singing for granted, and sit back and enjoy the performances, such as David Flint’s, as the shameless tenor Alfred. He didn’t look much like a ladykiller, but he was ideally suited to the gentle comedy the part demands.
Familiar faces in some of the crucial smaller roles – Michael Bagnall as the tongue-tied lawyer Blind, Ken Rolf as Frank, the prison governor, and Bernard White, successfully following Fulton Mackay and a long line of jolly gaolers. 
Unfairly upstaged by a pair of pampered bitches, Ann Davey wore the dress-trousers as young Prince Orlofsky, whose bal masqué gave the Opera Group chorus to shine in some nicely libidinous goings-on.
Birgitta Angsmyr gave a delightful performance as Adele, the real parlour maid, and Peter Crowe cut a dapper figure as Falke, the false friend whose Bat’s revenge gives the piece its title and its plot-line.
The Chelmsford Sinfonietta, organised by Brian Brown, made up in authentic Viennese sound what it lacked in body – the celebrated overture was enjoyed in rapt silence by the first night audience. The conductor was Anthony Trodd.