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Kiss Me, Kate: lips shtick is a delight

03 July, 2018 — By Sebastian Taylor

OPERA North’s production of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate is only on at the London Coliseum until Saturday evening.

Catch it if you can – it’s so full of gaiety and fun that you can’t fail to enjoy it immensely.

The staging has the merit of opera soloists actually singing in tune, rather than musical stars belting it out.

And what a difference that makes to Porter’s back-stage/front-stage take on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

Altogether, there are 17 numbers in the piece, all well sung, note perfect.

So it’s a real pleasure to hear such items as Always True to You in My Fashion, I’ve Come to Wive it Wealthily in Padua and So in Love.

The two bailiffs deliver Brush Up Your Shakespeare with aplomb and there’s waltzing gallantry to Wunderbar.

Soprano Stephanie Corley has terrific fun with the attitudes of the 1940s portrayed by Porter in I Hate Men:

Of all the types I’ve ever met within our democracy,
I hate the most the athlete with his manner bold and brassy!
He may have hair upon his chest, but sister, so has Lassie!
Oh I hate men!

She sings the piece amid an army of a chorus, all dressed in the most colourful of costumes, singing well in the setpieces.

Other soloists are a delight, notably Dutch baritone Quirijn de Lang as Fred Graham doubling up as Petruchio, and Zoe Rainey as Lois Lane doubling up as Bianca.

And there’s a splendid tap-dance routine performed by Ross Russell.

Conductor James Holmes gets an excellent response from the small orchestra.


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