Charlton Down Village Hall

POP-UP Opera aims to bring accessible operas to new audiences by offering productions with a twist and they certainly succeed with their current touring performance and its visit to Dorset under the auspices of Artsreach.

Two short works by Mozart are full of life and humour as five professional singers make the most of the comic situations into which they bring their considerable skills.

First up, a pair of drama divas battle it out for first place in a new production which gives the singers, Laura Ruhi Vidal and Hazel McBain plenty of opportunities to go for broke at their auditions while the menfolk, Wesley Briggs and Mark Bonney look on with awe in the female fight.

This is followed by a threesome comedy in which a pair of lovers, Alys Mererid Robert and Mark Bonney, each think the other has ended the relationship. Enter Wesley Briggs as the self-proclaimed love expert whose meddling only makes matters worse when he devises a magic spell to bring them back together.

Overacting and silly dialogue – in German – keep up the riotous pace in a performance of gorgeous Mozart music that was a joy for the capacity audience.

Both works being sung in German, there were handwritten subtitles on a board beside the stage and the opening opera’s spoken dialogue was happily in English which inevitably raised the question on why could not the second work have been the same.

With sensitively played solo piano accompaniment performed throughout by Barrak Dyer, this was an evening to appreciate in the lofty hall and its excellent acoustics that has hosted many fine classical shows over the years.