Kismet performed by the English National Opera has proved to be a massive flop savaged by the critics. As I bought a ticket for the show some weeks ago in the hopes of seeing some Javier de Frutas choreography, I went along to see it for myself on Friday night and I can confirm it was terrible. The problem lies with the staging and the hideous sets. The performers were actually rather good and the singing was glorious, especially from Sarah Tynan when she sang 'And This is My Beloved' and I couldn't help thinking they all deserved much better.
Javier de Fruta's walk-out is easily understood once you've seen the show as no doubt he felt being associated with such a turkey would damage his career: he made a wise move. The references to Baghdad where the action is set were unfortunate and my companion said he found them very uncomfortable.
This article in today's Guardian has Charlotte Higgins questioning the judgement of ENO's John Berry in staging the work in the first place.
http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/dram ... 01,00.html
He points out that repertory decisions are taken years in advance, in other words not his fault. Fair enough: but I question his assertion that the show is going down well at the box office. As I said, I went on a Friday night usually the second busiest night in the theatre after Saturday and the balcony was only about a third full. Although I couldn't see the rest of the auditorium from my seat I imagine the other areas of the house were similarly sparsely populated. Certainly the foyer looked quieter than usual when I arrived.
This is a disaster for ENO, who have had a few lean years lately. The two last productions I saw there, Handel's Agrippina and Britten's Death in Venice, played to what appeared to be capacity. Perhaps the company should stick with opera and leave musicals well alone.