Opera may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but LUU OperaSoc are trying to change minds on that front, one show at a time. After a highly successful first show of “Cinderella” earlier this year, they are at it again with “The Dragon of Wantley”. With audience comments such as “Delightfully silly, and a very high standard of performance” it’s not one to miss.
The show is based on the classic tale of a village terrorised by a dragon, and the brave knight who slays it to win a fair maiden. However, this is a story with a twist - the knight is a drunkard who already has a lady-love, the village is populated by an interesting array of characters (and at times animals) and the dragon...well, we don’t want to spoil the fun for anyone still hoping to catch the show.
Directed by Claudia Chapman, a second year music student who took one of the starring roles in “Cinderella”, this baroque opera is given a panto spin topped off with some brilliant references to the ever great Monty Python. The principles carry the show wonderfully, with the chemistry between Moore (Chris Pelly) and Margery (Bianca Von Oppell) lighting up the stage. OperaSoc relies on their non auditioned chorus, who not only add character to the group scenes, but who also perform the complex music to perfection despite many of them coming from non-musical backgrounds.
The show is supported by a live orchestra, led by MD Chris Roberts, winner of NCEM Young Composer of the Year Award in 2012. They provide a skilled accompaniment to the action on stage, and are a big part of what makes this show so enjoyable - finding a group interested in performing baroque operas such as this one can be challenging, but under the instruction of Chris the music comes to life. As usual, LUU Backstage Society have also given their all, bringing some fantastic set and wonderful lighting to top the show off.
Overall it’s hard to rate this show as anything less than 5 stars. For those who enjoy opera already, this is a wonderful opportunity to see a baroque piece in all its glory. For those who’d prefer a light introduction this is a show full of laughs and with an easy-to-follow and fun plot. The show opened on Wednesday 24th and runs until Saturday 27th of April, tickets are £5 for students, or £7 for non-students.