Ba-ta-clan

Jacque Offenbach’s first hit, Ba-ta-clan is an irreverent cheeky sideswipe at grand opera: showcasing all the silly things that can (and do) happen in grand opera, things we love but when describing them to others, realising how insane they are too.

In this version, written and directed by Morag Joss, she has created a modern updated version, instead of jokes about long-dead Parisian opera stars there are mentions of Wasfi Kani of Grange Park Opera instead which I thought a nice touch. In this version a group of people come together to perform an opera, only it’s not really got a plot and all the things that Grand Opera does in spades get done here in a very funny way.

The soprano Duzzwadeva (a fantastic Raffaela Papadakis) gives a great performance and for me, most memorably sings complaining about sopranos never making to the end either by dying of malediction or driven to death. There are then two tenors who are competing for the lead, as it has to be a tenor naturally. I quite liked that the baritone was almost left forgotten in the background (to replicate how it is sometimes perceived that baritones are treated). Joss directs well here, utilising all of the space brilliantly.

West Green is a lovely setting in some truly stunning gardens. The pavillion we were in was by the edge of the water, very picturesque. It was slightly wobbly but I really liked the location and how it was just perched there, a great place for a picnic and a wander before or after (it was under an hour so no interval for this one). It’s definitely a venue I would love to come back to next time, especially with such a diverse and exciting line up that they had this year (Ba-ta-clan; Candide; and Madama Butterfly).

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