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An Enchanted Evening

An Enchanted Evening
Riverside Theatre Digital
October 17, 2020

Riverside Theatres must be congratulated on having ensured that their audiences can stay connected and entertained during the Covid-19 lockdown through Riverside Theatre Digital. Now as theatres re-open, Riverside’s An Enchanted Evening eases the transition back to theatre-going by offering audiences the choice of seeing the show in-theatre or live-streamed into their homes.

An Enchanted Evening brings well-known arias and much-loved songs from musicals together in a nicely balanced program performed by leading soprano, Julie Lea Goodwin (Westside Story, La Bohème), and tenor, Daniel Belle (The Ten Tenors, Les Misérables). The pair open with “Tonight, Tonight” from Bernstein’s Westside Story and instantly we are confident of having a truly enchanting evening. It is not only the quality of their voices and their compatibility that makes the time go swiftly but also the smoothness of transitions from song to song, the assuredness of their movements and effective use of lighting.

The arias include well-tried favourites like the touching “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and the seductive “Quando M’en Vo’” (“Musetta’s Song”) from Puccini’s La Bohème performed by Goodwin, and a broken-hearted “E la Solita Storia del Pastore” (Frederick’s Lament) from Cilea’s L’Arlesiana and vigorous “Brindisi” (“The Drinking Song”) from Verdi’s La Traviata sung by Belle. The program concluded with the wisely chosen and lovely duet from Roger and Hammerstein’s Carouse, “If I Loved You”, in which two shy people declare their love for each other, performed very sensitively and movingly by Goodwin and Belle.

The singers were joined on stage by well-known and versatile conductor Guy Noble as host and accompanist. Readily able to put the audience at their ease, Noble interleaved the program with amusing commentaries on the melodramatic nature of 19th-century operatic narratives and the generally intense misery of the characters. His special showpiece was an original song dedicated to Covid-19 sung to the tune of “When I Was a Lad” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, which included the catchy lines “It’s not easy to dance and sing/When you are social distancing”.

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