Reviewed by David Smith
SALOS, true to their name and charter, is keeping the delightful music and often improbable story lines of light opera alive in Adelaide. And good on them for doing so. The Desert Song, with Sigmund Romberg's fine score, is perfect fare for this troupe. Director Brian Godfrey's traditional staging worked well and the small ensemble, ably conducted by Helen Loveday, provided a warm accompaniment.
Victoria Coxhill was a first-rate Margot, combining her wonderful singing with pleasing dramatic flair. Alongside her was Graham Loveday as Pierre, alias the Red Shadow. His strong baritone was well suited to the role, and their duet of the title song was uplifting. He led the famous Riff Song with gusto, well supported by tenor Anthony Little as Sid, and the male chorus.
The experienced Peter Potts was MD as well as taking the comic role of Bennie. In that role he was very funny, had sure focus and timing and worked very well with Roslyn Fleming who maintained the pace as Bennie's love interest. Their comic scenes were a suitable foil to the swagger and intrigue of the battle between the Riffs and Legionnaires.
Among the supporting cast, Justine Lewis as the seductive Azuri, Greg Paterson as Ali Ben Ali, Brian Godfrey as Hassi and David Roberts as General Birabeau were prominent.
The chorus, described in the programme notes as mainly veteran performers, coped well with the demands of the music and added colour and tone.
SALOS are filling a worthy niche in the local music scene. May they long prosper.
Greg Patterson as Ali Ben Ali