Aria Goes Office is a production from Aria Alba, and it is a tale of office politics, jealousies, relationships, rivalries and pretty much anything else that could go on in any Edinburgh office, and as we watch the tale of Deborah (Big Boss) and her team of people unravel, it is all held cleverly together by some of the best known music and arias in Opera.
There is some obvious talent in Aria Alba and some potentially amazing future stars just starting out, and part of the remit of Aria Alba is to provide a platform to develop that talent. There are others with far less ability too, and that is the beauty of this company. All you need to join is a love of the music (whether singing or on the more technical stage side).
This is a community based company whose aims are to allow people to take part in, or just enjoy listening to Opera at any level, and anything that de-mystifies Opera and makes it accessible to as wide an audience as possible is a good thing. This is (as it used to be) music for everyone.
I do not think that you can ever review the work of a company like this purely on its technical merits. Sure, there are some very talented singers here, but I am specifically not picking them out for special notice in this review as this is a community group effort and someone who is standing on stage singing and hitting some odd notes at times deserves just as much attention. Everyone is on stage tonight for one reason, and that is the joy of the music and singing it, and at the end of the night, standards from everyone were amazingly high.
We were given music from many of my favourites – “La Traviata”, Madama Butterfly” and “Il Trovatore” to name just a few. No “Habanera” from Carmen though and it would have fitted well into the story line.
What interested me as much as the music tonight was the almost silent little play of office politics and relationships that was unfolding behind the music all the time, and if you watched carefully, this is what was driving the music of tonight into place. It was a very clever production that deserves to be a standard part of the Aria Alba repertoire.
For some reason the phrases “amateur production” or “semi professional” seem to strike terror into the hearts of many members of the public or many reviewers, and I do not know why as there are some real gems out there (like this one). This is also for many the entry level to a professional career on and behind stage. It is also for many just simply a meeting place to enjoy music that they like with others. Companies like Aria Alba are vital to the continued health of music (not just Opera) and we all need to support them as much as possible.
Aria Alba – Opera For All lived up to their name tonight by proving that it is not big names, big sets, or big settings that make opera what it is to many people, it is simply THE MUSIC.
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