“Opera in Skegness! you’re pulling my leg”, “your having a laugh, aren’t you” I hear you say. The demographic of Skegness is the last place you’d think of having entertainment more suited to upper class culture, the perseption of Skegness is an unlikely place to see a classical opera nestled amongst an innumerable amount of pubs and club, the blaring lights and harsh sounds of gaudy arcades, tattoo parlours on every corner and a holiday town that is synonymous with – lets say the less sophisticated in society :-)

Opera and Skegness goes together like chalk and cheese but a live opera was exactly what was on the beach in Skegness for the SO festival 2012.

Garsington Opera performed La Périchole which was beamed live from Wormsley and introduced by Sir Terry Wogan no less :-).

Garington Opera was projected on a large screen on central beach. It was a lovely warm summers evening. The turn out to see the opera was modest with a couple of hundred who sat and watched the performance of La Périchole in deck chairs or on picnic rugs, happily listening to the Opera singers on a peacefully quiet beach.

It was rather a serene atmosphere.

I really liked it, it was a lovely relaxing evening. My husband and I walk up and down the beach listening to La Périchole as the waves softly rolled in and splashed on the shore, it was lovely holding each others hand while we strolling along the sea-shore with people around us buying fish and chips and eating ice cream, kids building sand castles and a full moon in a summer nights sky.

The Opera was light-hearted and fun in parts. Not at all what most people would think of to be a classical opera. The music had a sea shanty feel and it was sung thankfully in English, we didn’t know what to expect before we got to the beach. I don’t like Opera’s that I can’t understand and we decided if it was sung in Italian we were going home, coming from a working class background that thinks opera’s filled with nowt but, warbling women and men who should geta proper job, it’s not to bad of a compromise to get me in the audience :-)

On the Garington website it said ‘There is no-one like Offenbach for music that diverts, intoxicates and seduces. He wrote roles for women that fitted them like the sleekest and most alluring of silken gowns and the role of La Périchole is no exception.

An impoverished Peruvian street singer, she is wickedly flirtatious, charmingly pragmatic and runs rings around every man she comes across while remaining, of course, entirely faithful to her one true love.

Whipping up a storm in the orchestra pit will be Garsington Opera regular David Parry. Director Jeremy Sams has also provided a fresh and deliciously witty new translation’

I have to agree, the music was cheerful, the acting interesting with some good characters and the story rather unexpected for a female lead – not the typical scenario of I’m so weak and delicate, that was usually adopted for female characters in this type of old and dry entertainment, but old and dry this adaptation of La Périchole was not.

The opera wasn’t to every ones liking, we walked away from the audience on the beach and decided to take some video of us acting out the songs that were being sung on the beach as a memento of the evening. As we were filming a couple walked passed us and said “you should get up there, your better than they are” pointing at the screen :-)

After the Opera there was a fireworks display, the crowd turned from a couple of hundred to around about 2,000 but most stayed well away from the beach and opera choosing to watch the fireworks from tower espalade, which was a shame, not that we minded we got the part of the beach we were on practically to ourselves

The fireworks were performed by World Famous, they were lovely, but it made us laugh when it turned out to be just a 4 minute fireworks display. I’m glad we hadn’t walked all the way down to the beach just for the fireworks or the evening could have been a bit disappointing, instead we got a great opera, fireworks and a lovely evening to enjoy.

The firework display might not have been very long, but boy they were loud! the sound resonated through the surrounding building and set off loads of car alarms in the car park next to the beach, resulting in a serenade of beeping afterwards :-)

Obviously this was a one-off event for Skegness as part of their SO festival and is not something that is a permanent feature in Skeg.

Opera on the beach followed by a fireworks display was a nice and relaxing way to finish off their little festival. I really enjoyed the outdoor opera experience on the beach.

I still can’t believe there was an opera in Skegness, it was so out of step with the perception of Skegness, one minute we were walking toward the beach surrounded by pub crawlers, the next we were watching a classy Opera on a quiet beach. who’d a thunked it :-)