NEVER MIND Covent Garden, Dalston is where you can see see opera. You’re not interested? Sorry, you may have to get into it: sung plays, as they were once called, are making some kind of weird revival in this country.
For one night only, a restored Victorian railway shed now styled Dalston Department Store, above, will be the venue for one of the divine Mozart’s lesser-known operas.
Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), a load of hooey about a Turkish harem that’s more fun than its title might
suggest, is being staged, in German with English titles, by Pop-up Opera.
Formed barely five years ago this lively outfit has been winning good reviews: Time Out called its production last year 2014 of Mozart’s Così fan tutte (They All Do It) “enthralling”.
The company likes to put operas on in unusual places, so the show is, well, popping up all over the land, including at Hackney Wick (details below).
Get out your evening dress, dinner suit or white tie and tails to have a glam night out. The show is three hours long, including interval, so go easy on the G ’n’ Ts at halftime.
Across town, at the Hackney Empire English Touring Opera, is presenting some promising work.
The one to choose is The Wild Man of the West Indies because – says my editor, looming behind me – it is that rarest example of western drama, one in which a dark-skinned person is seen as an individual rather than just a symbol of otherness. Yep, an opera that raises issues more serious than sex (although the plot includes that, too).
The work is by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848 ), who knew how to write a tune.
Hamish Scott 020315
* Die Entführung, Dalston Department Store (good disabled access), 3 Richmond Road E8 3HY, Thurs 26 Mar 2015, 7.30pm, £16.55. Also at Stour Space, 7 Roach Road, Hackney Wick E3 2PA Tues 14 Apr 2015, 7.30, from £13.37. For booking, press this link.
* The Wild Man of the West Indies, Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street E8 1EJ, Thurs 12 March 2015 at 7.30pm, in Italian with English surtitles, 2 hours 30 minutes (with interval), £10-£33 (plus booking charges, tel 020 8985 2424). Disabled facilities, full (and fine) orchestra. Press this link to hear director Iqbal Khan and Aidan McQuade of Anti-Slavery International discuss slavery and Donizetti’s opera.
* Main pic (supplied): a previous Pop-up Opera production
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