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“Territory that none of the big guns would have dared approach: Victoria Simmonds sang warmly as the gamine Mignon, nicely contrasted with Ruth Jenkins-
“The chorus demonstrated again just why they are the backbone of the New Sussex Opera with their performance of the 19th century opera, Mignon at Lewes Town Hall on Wednesday.
The 35 strong group demonstrated their professionalism and love of opera with fearlessness and commitment and provided worthy support for the career singers in the starring roles.
St Paul’s Sinfonia were an added bonus. The London orchestra comprised of performers on virtually every instrument from wind and brass to harp, bassoon and timpani.
The evening show-
If you want passionate singing in a light hearted Victorian style melodrama with a happy ending, don’t miss this"
Reviews of Mignon
“Superb and very good looking costumes.
I was hugely impressed by Ruth Jenkins-
Victoria Simmonds sang her arias and the duets very well indeed – clear diction and vocally sounding just right.
Christopher Diffey made an elegant, amusing Laertes who managed the dialogue very well and injected some life into the proceedings whenever he was onstage. Jason Crook as the ghastly circus owner, Jarno, was very good too.”
“We were treated to two exceptional voices in Victoria Simmonds (Mignon) and Ruth Jenkins-
Fun scenery from designer Eleanor Wdowski consisted mainly of a series of differently sized trunks, some large enough to act as doors and others small enough to be tables, with judicious use of tablecloths and dust sheets to disguise them into other things when required. The Chorus looked the part in their sumptuous period 1920s costumes. It was all nicely done. Director Harry Fehr’s finest moment was undoubtedly Titania's aria, delivered with bravura energy by Jenkins-
Ambroise Thomas’s Mignon was one of the most popular operas of the 19th century, clocking up more than 1,000 performances in Paris alone in the decades immediately following its 1866 premiere at the Opéra Comique. Based on Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, it deals with burgeoning sexuality in a transient world. The waif-
Harry Fehr’s striking staging for New Sussex Opera reimagines the work in terms of the hedonism and existential uncertainties of Weimar Republic Berlin, where Mignon’s boyish persona, defensively adopted as a response to childhood trauma, is taken for granted by a society that ignores her underlying heartbreak, and where she can only find genuine solace in her relationship with the half-
There are superb central performances from Victoria Simmonds as Mignon and Ruth Jenkins-
Tim Ashley -