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There’s just till the end of the week to catch the glorious singing of Cape Town Opera in the Gershwins’ 1935 American folk opera, here relocated from the slums of South Carolina to an apartheid era township in South Africa.

With its combination of sophisticated score and catchy rhythms, it hovers somewhere between the genres of musical theatre and opera, but it takes those classically trained voices to do it full justice – and on that front this company (accompanied by the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera) really delivers.

Physically, director Christine Crouse hasn’t quite mastered what to do with the large onstage chorus, and there’s a roughness to the choreography, but that barely matters when the singing is so heartfelt and affecting.

At the performance I saw, Gloria Bosman made her mark in the minor role of no-nonsense Maria, Philisa Sibeko delivered a sincere “Summertime,” and Mandisinde Mbuyazwe grew into the role of violent Crown. And when Nonhlanhla Yende’s  reformed Bess and powerful bass-baritone Xolela Sixaba’s crippled Porgy declare their unlikely love in “Bess, You is My Woman Now” you really hope against hope that their happiness will last.    

English National Opera at the London Coliseum St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES
Tube: Charing Cross
Until 21st July £12 - £97.50


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Review: Porgy and Bess, London Coliseum
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