il viaggio a reims 

cape town opera | baxter theatre | 2010 | 2014 revival

 

Matthew made his African opera debut with Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims for the UCT Opera School in collaboration with Cape Town Opera. This bright, energetic updating of Rossini’s coronation comedy stranded a number of B-list celebrities in an unspecified European airport en route to a French inauguration. Designed by Leopold Senekal, this fresh, sparky production, awash in pop art visuals, pop culture references, pictograms and lettering, was universally acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.

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PRESS:

 

“He was fortunate to have a director as imaginative as Matthew Wild, who ensured that the production moved at a spanking pace, liberally sprinkled with humour and high spirits ... Imaginative use was made of the economical yet imposing set by Leopold Senekal, while the animated and alert chorus made sure that this production never flagged for one moment.” OPERA

 

“It is appropriate to give immediate credit to Wild’s lovely production, in which the characters have been seamlessly transported through almost two centuries to arrive as contemporary prototypes, recognisable to us all ... He has used the possibilities of the scenario extremely well, more particularly since the fixed locality of the piece has the potential for becoming a bit jaded. Not here: the interaction of the characters, the business going on around them, the clever use of props and set elements all go to make this one of the most inventive opera productions we’ve seen in Cape Town for some time. The airport set is efficient, practical for purpose and surprisingly atmospheric. We have all had to hang around such spaces and the familiar signage, lack of comfort and public scrutiny was all there - even the sole private refuge, the toilet, which here assumes the status of a confessional. Costuming is overtly depictive ... and adds to the general feel of representational fun” CAPE TIMES

 

“At the premiere it was clear that the piece was very thoroughly prepared ... The production was spot on: the clinically clean modern airport, the outlandish costumes by Leopold Senekal and Kobus Rossouw’s lighting create the right tone for Wild’s direction, which moves seamlessly through the proceedings on stage. Above all, his direction is  musical, placing equal emphasis on the performer’s singing and acting ... There was no weak link in the cast ... This production deserves the highest praise, no matter from which angle one looks at this manifestation of an extremely complicated artform.” BEELD

 

“With Matthew Wild’s direction and Leopold Senekal’s set design, the audience experiences an energetic production ... Operas updated to the present day often waver somewhat. Wild’s stands firm ... The comedy is simple and sharp. What impresses most is how well the direction and set design serve Rossini’s brilliant music” DIE BURGER

 

“Deft direction by Matthew Wild gives some shape to Rossini’s loosely structured romp, and well-rehearsed execution from the young artists entrusted with its performance ensures an evening of rewarding entertainment” CAPE ARGUS

 

“... brought to sparkling life under the baton of Kamal Khan, and inspired direction by Matthew Wild. The opera perfectly captures the zest and vigour of the young ensemble, showing some solid voices of the future. Opera purists may frown upon the makeover, but will ultimately succumb to the charm and passion of its energy and imaginative interpretation ... For those who are not familiar with opera, this production offers an ideal introduction to the world of opera and guarantees future visit to the theatre.” THE WRITING STUDIO