The Light in the Piazza

Recently, 15 GTO Magazine readers and their companions had the chance to see the opening night of The Light in the Piazza, courtesy of our latest Readers’ Event. Events and Entertainment Editor Fiona Horan was with them.

“The London premiere of six-time Tony-winning Broadway musical The Light in the Piazza will run at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre for just 20 performances. This lush musical is based on an American novella published in 1960, telling the story of an American mother and daughter visiting Florence in 1953. Margaret Johnson is protective of beautiful daughter Clara. Then Clara meets and falls in love with local lad Fabrizio. All very romantic – but does young love endure? Margaret has returned with her daughter to the fondly remembered scene of her own honeymoon – yet her husband has remained behind in America. And Clara isn’t quite what she appears …

The Light in the Piazza has lyrics and music by Adam Guettel – the grandson of famed composer Richard Rogers. The marvellously sumptuous score is performed in this production by Opera North’s 40-piece symphony orchestra, who are visible on stage just above the performers. It’s a simple but effective set, and it’s unusual to see a musical in the Royal Festival Hall – a venue associated with orchestral performances. The cast are great, with wonderful voices – particularly four-time Grammy winner and opera star Renée Fleming who plays Margaret. Dove Cameron (Clara) and Rob Houchen (Fabrizio) are also good, and I enjoyed Alex Jennings, who is most familiar in films and television programmes playing anxious English gentleman types, as a slightly stroppy Florentine father.

Many thanks to Connor Morgan and Vince Mutty from marketing company made for organising such an enjoyable evening, particularly the drinks reception and a talk by Blue Badge Guide Simon Bennett about the history of the Royal Festival Hall – opened just before the year in which The Light in the Piazza is set! We were all impressed by the Royal Festival Hall and its facilities for group visits, and as a performance venue.”

The Light in the Piazza runs until 5th July at The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London. The group rate for 6+ is £75 seats reduced to £45. For further information, visit www.lightinthepiazzathemusical.com or telephone 020 3879 9555.