Review: The Wild Man of the West Indies at Buxton Opera House

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This opera, originally ‘Il Forioso all’Isola Di San Domingo’, was very well presented by English Touring Opera. The singing was of a uniformly high standard.

Susanna Fairburn was excellent in the leading role of Eleonora; if we had not been told, we would never have guessed that she had stepped into the role because of the illness of Sally Silver.

Craig Smith was impressive as the wild man, driven to madness and isolation by his wife’s betrayal.

Peter Braithwaite made a lively and amusing Kaidama, the young slave.

The music is beautiful and ETO really did justice to Donizetti’s beautiful tunes and elegant interweaving of voices and orchestra.

The set was just right with the lighting conveying the sea in all its moods.

This tale, where love triumphs at last after betrayal and exile, is reminiscent at times of The Tempest. But the island on which it is set is not a magic one but a Spanish colony where slaves work the plantations.

There is a happy ending for the mature and long estranged lovers as they leave the island, but slavery and the ever-present whip remain there.

This was an excellent production of a powerful story, musically brilliant and with many touches of humour. ETO seem to be getting better and better.

An enthusiastic audience awaits their return to Buxton in October.