Pop-Up Opera presents, L’Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers)

Tipples of elderflower and prosecco. Chocolate muffins and other assorted baked goods on demand. Professional opera in quirky environments. Pop-up Opera, the touring company changing our perception of opera returns for the summer, creating inventive environments in which to explore and appreciate opera. From the apprehensive to the enthused, Pop-up opera offers a platform fro young professionals to expand their repertoire and engage with new audiences across the UK.

The touring company’s latest endeavour takes place at the Brunel Museum, in a cylindrical shaft beneath the Thames. (Note that the temperature in the tunnel shaft may be cool, so bring your woolies. Access is by (sturdy) scaffold stairs only, with a low doorway to enter the shaft.)

Production Image - L’Italiana (courtesy Richard Lakos) 3

Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers) meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, against a backdrop of glitz and grit at the Algiers Hotel, Nevada. Sung in Italian with English captions, Rossini’s opera (written when the composer was just 21) is all faded-starlets, corrupt business and seduction. An absurd comedy, with high levels of infidelity L’Italiana in Algeri is a great example of opera’s playful side. The libretto is given a last minute update with scrawling’s added, captioning live events, prompting and enhancing onstage comedy. No prompting was necessary in praising Irish mezzo-soprano, Helen Stanley, who delivered a solid performance as the brazen Isabella. Characterful and with a solid technique, soprano Catrin Woodruff warrants similar praise in her interpretation of Elvira, the wife of brutish club owner Mustafa.

Production Image - L’Italiana (courtesy Richard Lakos) 5

For new recruits, Pop-up Opera suggest some useful Italian to see you on your way to aficionado status. (This will see you through most of the opera).

Useful Italian words and phrases:

Felice/infelice – happy/unhappy

Crudel tormento – cruel torment

Amor/Amore – love

Sempre – always

Kaimakan – casino entertainment director

Mi confondo – it confuses me

Sposare – to marry

Il bey – the boss

From Glochestershire to Hampshire, there are plenty of opportunities to catch the company and with constantly changing locations no two shows are the same. Find your nearest performance here.

Photography by Richard Lakos.