What an interesting evening at MediaCityUK. As you could tell from my earlier preview this was an event that had stirred the Mediterranean romantic in me and it was an event I thoroughly enjoyed.
Set in a sort of pop-up bar the evening began with a free Peroni and a mingle amongst the hundred strong audience.
There was no formal seating and the eclectic crowd took away any sense of stuffiness. It was all very laid back and cool.
The room was filled with the sound of light hearted chatter, canapé’s drifted round the room on fancy silver platters and the Salford sun bounced off the BBC Sport building... what a lovely atmosphere.
But wait! What’s this? The four handsome and incredibly well dressed Italian boys next to me seem to be arguing about something! Oh no guys, relax, enjoy your free beer, eat a canapé, you’re spoiling the evening for the two beautiful Italian girls propping up the bar!
A tuxedoed bouncer has moved over to intervene and if that wasn’t enough someone has started playing the piano.... ahhhh, it's showtime!
Three minutes after the ‘altercation’ has begun the room is alive as the eight or so ensemble burst into a boisterous rendition of ‘Libiamo ne’ Lieti Calici’ (the Drinking Song) from Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’.
There are a couple of gents on the bar, there are a couple dancing with the audience, there are some swigging beer and the place is absolutely alive. It was the most energetic start to a show I have ever seen.
After this rousing opening the bar went back to normal for 15 minutes or so before a beautiful rendition of ‘Quando m’en vo’ from Puccini’s ‘La Boheme’ enchanted the audience once more as the beautiful soprano prowled around the audience like a cat leaving broken hearts in her wake. Amazing.
The evening finished with ‘Chi il bel sogno di Doretta’ (Doretta’s Beautiful Dream) from Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’.
Type it into YouTube; it’s a beautiful song about lost love and the loneliness it brings. This is a brilliant example of what the whole evening was about; everyone can relate to this song, it breaks down the myth of opera. You don’t need to speak Italian for this song to move you and it was a very beautiful way to end an enjoyable night.
I believe there is a an extended show coming to Manchester in the new year so I shall keep you posted with dates as it will come highly recommended.