Otago Daily Times

Great dis­play of lo­cal ta­lent

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The Bari­tone Must Die

Opera Otago Marama Hall Fri­day, Novem­ber 20

OPERA Otago has a two­night sub­sti­tute for 2020 can­celled pro­duc­tions, and last even­ing at Marama Hall I en­joyed “The Bari­tone Must Die” — a potpourri of op­er­atic favourites, 20 in all, fash­ioned into a wacky “NotFlix” farce, built around an amorous bari­tone (tall, dark and hand­some, of course) who trawls dat­ing sites.

This themed mu­si­cal treat was as­sem­bled by Tessa Ro­mano and Rushi Vyas, who also “play them­selves” as they set­tle to watch TV with the oblig­a­tory bowl of pop­corn, hop­ing to en­joy their choice of a movie with ro­man­tic twist.

The cast also use their own names.

Bari­tone is Scott Bezett, his flat­mate Lil­lian Gibbs, her two friends Olivia Pike and Rhiannon Cooper (so­pra­nos).

Tessa Ro­mano also dou­bles as a drunken bar­maid, and pi­ano ac­com­pa­nist is Mark Wiggleswor­th.

The “movie” plays out with the stage di­vided to rep­re­sent a stu­dent flat and a bar.

The plot un­folds and the bari­tone is caught out si­mul­ta­ne­ously dat­ing two women who just hap­pen to be good friends.

Pop­u­lar arias are sung at strate­gic mo­ments in the storyline.

Among them were La ci arem la mano (Give Me Your Hand), Ein Mad­chen oder Weibchen (A Lady or a Wife) (Mozart), Johnny (Brit­ten) and Think of Me Lloyd Web­ber).

Sen­ti­ments ex­pressed in De­libes’ The Flower Duet from Lakme proved very ap­pro­pri­ate, as was the emo­tive de­liv­ery of Tooth­brush Time from Wil­liam Bol­com’s

Cabaret Songs .

Ther­apy from Tick, Tick, Boom by Lar­son and Ah quell diner (Of­fen­bach) were high­lights.

There is an un­ex­pected twist dur­ing the duet Agony from

Into the Woods (Sond­heim).

L’Amour Tri­om­phe (Gluck) brought a satisfacto­ry fi­nale, then we were left to dis­cover whether the TV view­ing cou­ple en­joyed their movie or not, and the “cred­its rolled” to

Soave sia il vento from Mozart’s

Cosi Fan Tutte.

A great show­case of qual­ity lo­cal ta­lent, it was most en­joy­able and well worth support by opera fans.

“The Bari­tone Must Die” plays again this even­ing in Marama Hall.

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