2013 – The Fizz – PRESS

The Fizz – 2013 

Ward/Porter
Posk Theatre, London W6

Robert Thicknesse, Opera NowOpera Now - April 2014

Despite a couple of duff years, W11 Opera shows still excite the highest expectations. Its best productions have been many-layered, touching pieces, performed to professional standards by large numbers of children from a good range of schools, and not just a gang of posh kids from plutocratic postcodes. I wonder if that’s still the case. Now only a handful of schools seem to be represented, and the last few years have looked increasingly like the school play – something one always dreaded but rarely happened.

This year was a back-to-basics effort composed by the dependable Martin Ward and Phil Porter, who had provided the surprising and moving Whale Savers four years ago; The Fizz is a much simpler piece, less demanding musically , and as is often case with W11, therefore less successful. But it’s a jaunty, breezy score, its lolloping gait and coconut-based percussion reminding me of the Steptoe theme, with excursions into jazz and a Bach-derived violin solo, but too careful in its musical lines to be really interesting. Philip Sunderland led the whole thing with pizazz, production standards were dependably high and couple of kids stood out for joyfully confident performances, including Henry Rayment-Pickard’s evil mogul and his snazzy sidekick Ruby Walden.

Barry Dickie, ex General Director, Chicago Opera Theatre

http://www.briandickie.com/my_weblog/2013/12

W11 Opera is something of a phenom – first of all it has been going from strength for more than 40 years.  Its longevity has been matched by its quality – its musical and production values are unique for a company dedicated to opera production by young people of school age.  These children are certainly starting out with a very high benchmark – and actually that is only to be expected given that my old friend and colleague Nicholas Kraemer was central to its beginnings in the early 1970s, and will have the bar very high indeed..  So first class people do first class things – and what a privilege it is for our children to be exposed to such a disciplined approach so early in their lives!

There was a packed house for the first performance of The Fizz yesterday afternoon – and a rapturous reception for a fun new opera – yes, really through composed, no dialogue – and then after these performances today that will be that for another year!  I guess they will commission something new again for 2014.

I was at another performance of The Fizz yesterday – and delighted to see there Nicholas Kraemer, W11 Opera’s co-founder and old friend from Glyndebourne and Chicago days. It was a great show.  It had been already on Saturday afternoon, and the third performance was inevitably even better!  This is a joyful beginning to the Christmas holiday season.