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Fatima is by Austrian composer Johanna Doderer, and was filmed at its world premiere at the Vienna Staatsoper in 2015. It’s the short and neat story of the eponymous heroine, who resolves the mess made by her brother in attempting to outwit and overcome the Lord of the Castle, who delights in stealing children’s dreams. So an inherently theatrical premise, with a dash of whimsy and some delightfully ‘yuck’ moments that will please most infants. Doderer’s writing is confident and fluent, generally traditional, and she keeps the story moving along. The opera does perhaps miss that one specific hit number that the audience could leave humming. Henry Mason’s stage direction is fun without becoming slapstick, and keeps the cast on its toes. Soprano Andrea Carroll, making a name for herself in Vienna, is a plucky and true-toned Fatima, Carlos Osuna her hapless brother, and Sorin Coliban enjoys himself as the baddie. Benjamin Bayl keeps orchestra and children’s chorus under good control, and the audience seems hugely enthusiastic. A shame there’s no interval to shovel down some ice cream for that all-important sugar-rush, the ultimate sign of a great day out, but it does keep things snappy.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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