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Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs review at Copeland Gallery, London – ‘an operatic fairytale’

The Opera Story's Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs at Coleman Gallery, London The Opera Story's Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs at Coleman Gallery, London
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If Marvel’s Avengers and DC’s Justice League can do it, then so can opera. For its second production the enterprising company the Opera Story has come up with Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs, colliding and reinventing two favourite children’s tales.

Thankfully the plot is less cut and dried than in a typical MCU offering. True, Goldilocks wanders through an idyllic wood at the opening, birds a-singing, but there the fairy tale ends. Goldilocks has been orphaned and left to fend for herself.

Despite the awakening of nature – richly captured in Vahan Salorian’s colourful, multilayered score – she has to find food. This is where the three little pigs (actually, bear-pigs, sporting bear-claw slippers and pig ears) come in, a family themselves living in fear of forest beasts higher up the food chain.

A savage undertone brings the tales viscerally to life, while the throbbing red carcass brought home by Daddy Bear-Pig for the family table, and a subsequent bestial killing, answers the white space of the Copeland Gallery, which practically screams for blood to be spilled.

Salorian’s score 10-piece ensemble often takes on an orchestral scope and ably reflects both the naïve and the base elements of the action.

Australian baritone Nicholas Lester gives the standout performance vocally – and manages to be both suave (as far as standing in bear-claw slippers allows) and chilling in his encounter with Goldilocks. Carolyn Dobbin is warm-voiced as Mother Bear-Pig and counter-tenor Daniel Keating-Roberts grows into his role as Baby Bear-Pig, for all his innocence realising by the end that it’s a dog eat dog world.

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A fresh operatic take on two children’s tales that may make you think twice about going down to woods