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Review: The Opera Locos (Peacock Theatre)

Review by Izzy Tierney




Mika's ‘Grace Kelly’ and Céline Dion's ‘My Heart Will Go On’ being ingeniously woven into opera classics is certainly not something I've seen before… And yet despite the chaos and contradicting genres, The Opera Locos makes it work.


The show features five opera singers who, for an hour and a half, deliver a dramatic, heartfelt love story through opera favourites and well-known pop songs from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston and a-ha. It's a strange ninety minutes, but one I'm pleased to have been a part of.

Created by Spanish theatre company Yllana, The Opera Locos guarantees it's for everyone, from die-hard opera fans to those who have never stepped foot inside an opera house. I was very much the latter of the two, having never seen any kind of opera and apprehensive about whether I would enjoy it or not. But with lots of fun audience interaction, unexpected laugh-out-loud moments and five incredibly talented vocalists, what's not to love? Sure, there were parts of the show where you could tell who actually knew their stuff and who was just clapping along and trying to sing vaguely the right words (me), and knowing the meanings and origins of the songs would have been useful, but I wouldn't say prior knowledge is essential.


The cast consists of Alfredo (tenor) played by Jesús Álvarez, Carmen (mezzo-soprano) played by Mayca Teba, Enrique (baritone) played by Enrique Sánchez-Ramos, Franelli (counter-tenor) played by Michaël Koné and Maria (soprano) played by María Rey-Joly. Each member brings something different to the table but what they share is an abundance of energy, an infectious passion for what they do and simply phenomenal voices that are a joy to listen to. The standouts for me  were Michaël Koné and Enrique Sánchez-Ramos, who, with a real, natural chemistry, took the audience through an equally funny and beautiful arc where I was genuinely rooting for them both. The narrative does at times feel a bit confused and disjointed, which I think is down to the audience not properly getting to know who some of these characters are. Their feelings and actions are made clear but as someone who loves exploring the motivations and desires of different characters, I wanted to understand their whys more.

A real highlight is the work of musical directors Marc Álvarez and Manuel Cove, who have managed to seamlessly blend opera and pop in such a clever way that it makes what I'm sure was a very difficult task appear easy. The creative brilliance of it made me want a lot more!


The idea of attending an opera can be quite daunting for some - myself included. They're an expensive risk to take if you have no idea whether you'll enjoy yourself or if you'll even understand what's going on. While I definitely think that having some understanding of opera is needed to appreciate this show in its full capacity, it provides the perfect place for an opera novice to be introduced and immersed into the world of opera before committing to a full operatic production. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed myself, and to me, this is the beauty of The Opera Locos.


Whether you live and breathe opera or you're clueless but intrigued by it, there will be something for you in this ninety-minute melodrama. Most importantly, I believe each show will spark a newfound love of opera for someone witnessing its magic for the very first time.


The Opera Locos plays at the Peacock Theatre until May 11th





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