Millennium Centre, CardiffStephen Fry is a hugely resonant presence as the American legend in Welsh National Youth Opera’s new production of Britten’s operaUnder a Stars and Stripes duvet, a young boy watches TV: this is the tale of American lumberjack hero Paul Bunyan, sharing his vision of the great American dream as interpreted by librettist WH Auden and the 28-year-old Benjamin Britten. Welsh National Youth Opera’s new production is a sort of Let’s Make an Opera for budding singers. Since Paul Bunyan hardly scores in the general consciousness – most people would be hard-pressed to identify the composer of this curious kaleidoscope of American musical styles – it’s an interesting bit of centenary flag-waving.The Bunyan of legend – in fact a PR construct – is a giant. With the eyes and nose of Stephen Fry as the great man projected on to a backdrop – his voice delivers Bunyan’s spoken words – the production has a hugely resonant presence. If there was a look of Monty Python’s Lumberjack Song to the production, that was all to the good; director Martin Constantine, designer Cai Dyfan and choreographer Jem Treays harnessed the super-abundant energy into one surreal flow. In such an all-singing, …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books