Blake's 'Scoring a Century' London triumph

Photo credit: Robert Workman

British Youth Opera gave a dazzling London premiere of David Blake’s (composer) and Keith Warner’s (librettist) millennial opera ‘Scoring a Century’ on Saturday night, at the Peacock Theatre, Holburn. Previously performed only by Birmingham Conservatoire, in 2010, both the libretto and the score had been revised for the current production. Blake’s deft scoring leads Mr and Mrs Jedermann (Everyman) unwittingly through Warner’s entertaining snapshots of life in various countries in the ever-changing 20th century, in an expert pastiche of musical styles.  

The lead singers were impressive – Holly-Marie Bingham gave a polished, flawless performance as Mrs Jedermann and Hugo Herman-Wilson turned out to be an endearing Mr Jedermann, producing some lovely, mellow sounds. The excellent Berthold (Florian Panzieri) provided the audience with many laughs, and Guy Elliot was a most masterful village idiot (amongst other roles), with wonderful voice and adept dancing. Joanna Harries was a very accomplished and appealing Tartine. Andrew Hamilton, Laurie Slavin, Christopher Dollins and Rachael Cox showed their versatility by playing several parts and the rest of the cast (too many names to mention) were also fantastic. The performance has received some excellent reviews. ‘Go London’ reviewer Barry Millington awards four stars, describes it as a ‘terrific company achievement’ and says ‘The Jedermanns truly offer something for everybody’. The full review may be read here:

https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/theatre/scoring-a-century-review-peacock-theatre-a4226881.html

Claire Seymour’s lengthy review in Opera Today says: ‘With a cast of twenty-plus performing over fifty named roles and ensemble-groups of gangsters, jury members, political protesters, secret agents and dock workers, ‘Scoring a Century’ is an ideal work for a large collective of young singers to exercise their talents and demonstrate their range, and thus an apt choice for one of British Youth Opera’s 2019 summer productions at the Peacock Theatre. Warner and Friend have teamed up again and they’ve clearly put the cast through their paces: the results of the obvious hard work are, as Blake said of Eisler, both ‘stimulating’ and somewhat ‘exhausting’!’

and: ‘ ….the Jedermanns’ progress offers Blake the opportunity to demonstrate his dexterity in diverse idioms – cabaret, music hall, musical theatre, popular music, and opera – which merge into and with his own musical language (primarily in the mini-operas) and other classical pastiches.’

To access the full review, please go to: http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/09/scoring_a_centu.php

Camden New Journal’s Michael White describes the uniqueness of ‘Scoring a Century’ - ‘decidedly non-standard’ repertoire for singers who have just left college and are entering the profession. Here is the complete review: http://camdennewjournal.com/article/scoring-a-century-a-long-delayed-london-premiere

The production team comprises: Keith Warner (librettist and director), Lionel Friend (conductor), Basia Binkowska (set), John Bishop (lighting), Jasmine Swan (costume) and James Anderton (production manager). The opera runs until Saturday - performances at 7pm on Wednesday 4th and Friday 6th September and a cover performance at 1pm on Saturday 7th September.

 

(4 Sep 2019)

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