So I was at the Dvořák's Cunning Peasant yesterday - quite a rarity although the Guildhall had a considerable success with in in 1997 so were understandably encouraged to give it another outing. It is certainly a piece of some charm along the lines of those Smetana operas such as The Kiss, The Secret, The Two Widows, and of course The Bartered Bride. The are very much of their time and place, unpretentious entertainment, and they give excellent opportunities to young singers to show their vocal, musical, and theatrical talents and achievements.
The enjoyable performance had particularly notable contributions from bass David Shipley - likely to be going places, and mezzo Emma Kerr, vocally and as an actor extremely secure and confident. The Guildhall opera department's director Dominic Wheeler was splendidly in command in the pit just about managing to tame the substantial orchestra in the Silk Street Theatre's small pit; and the excellent Stephen Medcalf production, said to be relocated to Wessex, looked nevertheless firmly rooted in central Europe with Francis O'Connor's delightful sets.
This kind of production is an excellent exercise for the developing opera singers that the Guildhall has successfully produced over the 50 years or so that I have been attending their performances, going back to the days when the school was located in Blackfriars.
I am looking forward to meeting many of these young people next week when I am invited to participate in one of their "encounters" events when the students meet old hands like me from the business!