As somebody who has never been to an opera before, I certainly wasn’t expecting the riotous, neon filled, sparkling, extravaganza that presented itself in the form of Anna Nicole. From the outset this production had me laughing and also feeling a twinge of sadness at the obviously lonely life of the lead character.
Anna Nicole’s English libretto was written by Richard Thomas who was also the progenitor of that other unorthodox operatic creation Jerry Springer the Opera. I had never been to the Royal Opera House, but was suitably impressed by its grandeur and size. The walls were adorned with blown up canvasses of Eva-Maria Westbroek the Dutch soprano picked to play Anna and the atmosphere was jovial and full of curiosity at what we were about to experience.
The First Act as I mentioned before was a multi coloured, blinged up, big boobed fun fair. A hilarious portrayal of Anna’s beginnings as a flat chested waitress on a mission to “bag her a billionaire” and some double F mammaries. The scenery, clothing and dance all perfectly created the furiously burning yet short lived life experienced by Anna. Eva-Maria Westbroek’s vocals were superb and the rest of the cast shined through with class and control (even though some of the material was heavy on the expletive).
The Second act purposefully departed from the bubble gum set pieces of the first. This, the audience were made to feel was the slippery slope of Anna's life. Dancers with Cameras for heads stalked around the stage like carrion birds waiting for Miss Smith to fall. Cold empty set pieces and a rubbish strewn stage brought us back to the reality and sadness of Anna’s untimely death.
The one comment that stuck with me was made by a middle aged woman as we left, “I liked the first half, but the second half just seemed cheap, with all that rubbish around and no brightness”. Some people I guess just don’t get it, she burned fast, but ultimately died alone, stricken with loss for her first son and at the mercy of fame.
I would urge you if they extend the performances to a few more dates, to snap the tickets up. You will not be disappointed.