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Anna Nicole

The Royal Opera House's PR machinery was in full throttle weeks before the premier of Anna Nicole. So I wasn't surprised to see all the little touches on the night - the Warhol-esque portraits of Anna Nicole plastered everywhere, the vivid pink stage curtain with AR at the bottom (read Anna Regina, but you have to read it quickly in English Latin ...) and the American accent PA to remind patrons to switch off their "cell phones".

Eva-Maria Westbroek was great - singing her way from her trailer-trash look through to the Hollywood glitzy blings, then to her fattened end. Her voice rang all the way with clear diction. Gerald Finley who sang The Lawyer Stern was equally good - with sufficient sleazy acting to make the role convincing. And the chorus was great - especially in Act I where the harmonies were thick and complex. It also played a significant role as the spectators of the story.
And the music? Antonio Pappano seemed to have spent sufficient time getting to know Mark Anthony-Turnage's score. The main orchestra played and responded well. And the rock band seemed to have given the whole work that "American" feel. The music sounded (to me at least) like an updated mesh of Berstein and Shostakovich - lots of patiches, lots of complex rhythms and harmonies, but somehow not losing touch with the audience. So in that respect I thought it was well crafted. Will I go back? I think so.
Yes, the audience. Well the PR machinery must have done its job well. There were lots of young faces and on the night that I went many trendy fashion types (from London Fashion Week?) and they seemed to have enjoyed the performance throughout. Let's hope they will return to see other operas.


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