"Strong staging of one-act opera"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 09/08/17

The Opera in the City Festival at the Bridewell continues with this performance of “A Florentine Tragedy”, a one-act opera by the Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky. Based on an unfinished play by Oscar Wilde, Bianca (Becca Marriott) is enjoying an extramarital dalliance with Guido Bardi, the Duke of Florence (Lawrence Thackery), when her husband Simone (Nicolas Dwyer) unexpectedly enters. Initially, Simone is polite to his rival, prompting Bardi to offer him a large sum of money for his wife. However, just as it looks like Bardi will be able to leave, things suddenly turn darker, culminating in a dramatic fight to the death.

All three performers are excellent singers and actors, with Thackery perfects at the arrogant Duke who thinks that he can get buy his way out of anything. Yole Lambrecht’s set is both simple and elegant, with the drapes serving both to set the scene but also serving as props when Simone cuts out a portion of cloth, which he then demands that his wife spin. The choreography of the fight which concludes the mini-opera is convincing, with the outcome uncertain until the last minute. While Zemlinsky sombre style may not be everyone’s taste, Time Zone Theatre have done well to bring this work to a wider audience.

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