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Grimeborn: edgy opera, in your face

25 July, 2019 — By Michael White

The Grimeborn Opera Festival has a jokey name (think Glyndebourne but without the frills) that hides a serious purpose – which is to present a rapid turnover of small-scale opera done on tiny budgets. And very much in your face if not your lap.

It runs at the impeccably edgy, con­frontingly intimate Arcola Theatre, Dalston, from July 29 to September 7. And next week’s offerings include Violeta, a pared-down take on Verdi’s Traviata; and Wagner’s Das Rheingold (with twists in the tale that may offend purists: you’ve been warned).

My particular recommendation is a little opera by the American composer Dominick Argento called Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night in which Dickens’ doomed bride relives the day she was jilted at the altar.
I can’t claim to have seen the piece, it’s never done here. But I’m curious: Argento tends to be a good thing, and knows how to write a tune!

• Ticket prices start at £12. Full details at: 


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