Graham Rogers, The Stage Review

It is the looks of pride and delight on the faces of the cast, particularly the young people, during the curtain calls which speak volumes about the immeasurably positive effects of opera.

Eugene Onegin

There can be few more worthy uses of Arts Council England grants. Like many amateur opera groups, Blackheath Halls Community Opera hires professional directors and principal singers, filling smaller roles and bumping the orchestra with music students. But what makes it special is its embracing community involvement, working closely with local primary schools and special needs schools - not just preparing for performances (around 40 children and young people take part each night), but also on classroom exploration of opera (colourful artwork is displayed in the Halls foyer).

Nicholas Jenkins has drilled the chorus well and coaxes sympathetic accompaniment from the orchestra, although inevitably the string section lacks oomph in the big moments. The professional cast is headed by Kate Valentine's Tanya, radiant with optimistic innocence in the 'letter scene', and Nicholas Sharrat's tortured Lensky, with a splendidly resonant Act III aria from bass Andrew Greenan.

It is an enjoyable audience experience - but it is the looks of pride and delight on the faces of the cast, particularly the young people, during the curtain calls which speak volumes about the immeasurably positive effects of opera.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

Stay up-to-date with performances and activities happening at Trinity Laban.

Subscribe now