The Coronation of Poppea - King's Head, 12 April 2011
The greatest achievement of Opera Up Close to date has been to persuade London's tin-eared theatrical establishment that banging out variably-sung piano reductions in the back room of a pub is the Future Of Opera (bye bye all credibility, Olivier Awards). However those of us who get out of the house more often realise that it's been done before - and better - by any number of worthy small companies.
The Coronation of Poppea is the first production of theirs to break that mould. It's purposeful, musically convincing drama and - yes - genuinely novel. Instead of pruning the original until there's nothing but a bare husk left, it's been restructured and rearranged in a way that makes sense for today.