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REVIEW: Wild Edric
4:12pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in Entertainments
BANK Holiday Monday saw Opera at Chilmark present the world premiere of Wild Edric by Louis Mander – a magical tale of love and loss featuring a Saxon lord and an Elfin maiden, set in the time of Norman Conquest.
Mander’s interest in folk song inspired him to write the opera as a way of linking well-loved folk songs into a coherent story.
This is Opera at Chilmark’s tenth season, and what better way to celebrate than by staging a new opera in the barn at Cleeves Farm?
The narrative, drawn from a fairy story and with a libretto by Nigel Gearing, has Edric spotting the Elfin maiden dancing with her sisters and falling instantly in love.
She agrees to marry provided he says nothing against her sisters.
They are married by an imperious King William who, with the chorus, performs a wonderfully rumbustious version of The Vicar of Bray – no historical connection with Norman times but that detracts little from the fun. The audience even joined in on the last verse.
Needless to say Edric does not keep his vow and suffers the tragic consequences.
The final scene ends with a moving orchestral version of Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. Musical director David Davies and the orchestra excelled.
As always the Chilmark chorus performed brilliantly well, and Nicky Ogborn as the Elfin Maiden sang beautifully, but was on one occasion slightly overpowered by the orchestra.
Ned Pattenden was an outstanding and amusing King William and Danny Standing (Edric) was in fine voice.
The work was directed by Jan Koene, and pre-Raphaelite costumes were by Hayley Spicer.
As an hors d’oeuvre the company presented a wide range of aspects of folk song, ranging from a poignant solo, through jazz piano to substantial choral numbers.
This was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Wild Edric would be a perfect piece for smaller opera groups and schools.
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