Review by Sylvia Speakeasy. Friday 7 May, at Sideshow West End. Presented by Vivachi Entertainment.
“It’s a pleasure for you to see me again!” With arms flung wide, an enormous handkerchief clutched in one hand, there’s no mistaking Roger Davy’s Pavarotti. And he’s correct – fifteen years after Pavarotti’s death, it’s quite safe to say that no other opera singer has filled the (considerable) gap he left, in music and in culture. So it is a pleasure to revisit Pavarotti’s legacy, pretend that the great man lives for even just one more night.
Pavarotti & The Diva is a simply staged, joyful romp through some of operas most recognisable pieces, a celebration of Pavarotti’s life through some of the music he made so popular. Roger Davy’s rich and resonant voice is a worthy surrogate for Pavarotti’s, and from the opening song of the show (‘O Sole Mio’) his vocal skill was obvious.
A minor hiccup mid-way through the show when a backing track refused to play turned into a highlight of the show for me, with Davy taking the opportunity to sing ‘Santa Lucia’ a capella. Unaccompanied, this simple Neapolitan folk song allowed Davy to showcase the pure warmth and beauty of his voice.
Gabrielle Jack joined Davy on stage as the show’s eponymous diva. Her first solo of the night, a giddy aria from Romeo et Juliette (‘Je Veux Vivre’) was breathtaking, and clearly an audience favourite; Jack’s soaring high notes had barely faded when a woman in the front row summed up the mood with a rather loud, ‘Wow!’
Davy and Jack were wonderful together on stage, a lovely rapport between them and their voices blending beautifully in a range of duets, from the raucous ‘Brindisi’ (La Traviata), the poignant ‘The Prayer’, to Pavarotti’s signature song, ‘Nessun Dorma’. Toward the end of the show, they led the enthusiastic audience through a few classic sing-alongs (‘Funiculì, Funiculà’ and ‘That’s Amore’), which was terrific fun.
Pavarotti & The Diva is a passionate celebration of an unrivaled superstar; perfect for opera aficionados or novices alike. Bravissimo!