Opera Scotland

Carousel 2015Opera North

Read more about the opera Carousel

Accepted as one of the very best musicals of the 20th century, Carousel features hit songs including You'll Never Walk Alone and If I Loved You, as well as its famous waltz  Of all the Rodgers shows it is also the one that comes closest to fulfilling the requirements of opera. It makes substantial demands on the stage designer, since, inevitably, a carousel has to appear and disappear quickly.

Jo Davies's vibrant production, designed by Anthony Ward with plenty of indications of the New England clapboard building style, meets the challenges head on, with complete success. The expected use of the revolve is not overdone, but helps the chorus make a huge impact in the finale. The effervescent music and choreography are put over with great freshness by a mixed company of singers, actors and dancers. They all blend together with unusual success. The staging was highly praised at its first run in 2012, but this revival must be every bit as good, thoroughly justifying its extensive national tour.

If there is one aspect of the work that has been subject to criticism over the years, it is the degree of sentimentality that can afflict it in performance. It is evidence of the quality of this production and presentation that it is largely kept at bay, with crisp and lively performances all round. The conductor James Holmes, with the excellent Orchestra of Opera North at his command, has produced a beautiful and atmospheric orchestral palette.

There really are no weaknesses in the cast, with Gillene Butterfield and Aoife O'Sullivan highlighting the contrasts between the characters of the two girls. Yvonne Howard makes the most of her two important solos - the big production number that is 'June is bustin' out all over' and a surprisingly contained first delivery of 'You'll never walk alone' - of course that returns later, on a much larger scale.

Joseph Shovelton's lovely tenor made the most of Enoch Snow's opportunities. The Thursday matinee saw Billy in the hands of the second performer of the role, the New Zealand baritone Philip Rhodes. His attractive, oaky baritone made the most of his verses of 'If I loved you' and his famous soliloquy that ends the first act. He was also a highly convincing actor.

Performance DatesCarousel 2015

Map List

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

2 Jun, 19.30 3 Jun, 19.30 4 Jun, 14.30 4 Jun, 19.30 5 Jun, 19.30 6 Jun, 14.30 6 Jun, 19.30

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