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Ann Widdecombe takes to the stage with The Royal Opera

Royal Opera House confirms casting for Donizetti's La Fille du régiment.

By Royal Opera House

29 February 2012 at 5.15pm | 10 Comments

Director of Opera, Kasper Holten said, "La Duchesse de Crakentorp is a non-singing comic role in Donizetti's La Fille du régiment. The part requires a strong personality, and has in the past been played highly successfully at The Royal Opera by actress and comedian Dawn French. In the spirit of casting a personality renowned for their work on the non-operatic stage, Ann Widdecombe proved to be an irresistible option, and we think she will be very suitable for this small, but important role in Donizetti's opera."

La Fille du régiment runs from Thursday 19 April - Thursday 10 May.

By Royal Opera House

29 February 2012 at 5.15pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Ann Widdecombe, Donizetti, La Fille du regiment, opera

This article has 10 comments

  1. Douglas Lee responded on 1 March 2012 at 5:37pm Reply

    What a crass choice; Dawn French is a very experienced and highly talented actress, Ann Widdecombe is just another 'celebrity' making a living out of being humiliated on 'reality' television. For heaven's sake, ROH, get a grip, don't go for the lowest common denominator in a cheap attempt to generate publicity, cast a proper actress who knows what she's doing.

  2. Rachel Wilcox responded on 2 March 2012 at 11:29am Reply

    I couldn't agree more - for me, this will be the deciding factor in NOT coming to the production. Please change your minds ASAP!

  3. Chris Shaw responded on 2 March 2012 at 12:12pm Reply

    Couldn't agree more with Douglas Lee. Dawn French was an absolute delight in this role with her immaculate comic timing and incredible stage presence. She is rapidly approaching National Treasure status. Ann Widdecombe, on the other hand, is National Joke.

    • Ben Seifert responded on 2 March 2012 at 5:22pm

      I agree that the casting of a person whose comic qualities are not produced by skill but by lack of it is a quite shocking deviation from good judgment

  4. Bill Jowett responded on 9 March 2012 at 9:01pm Reply

    Au contraire! I have tickets to La Fille du Regiment. I looked at the cast list and saw Ann Widdecombe had an acting part in it. MY reaction was GREAT! I am sorry for the four previous gainsayers - get a life! I will enjoy the evening. Will you!

  5. Michael Llewellyn responded on 19 March 2012 at 5:45pm Reply

    Earlier tis year this production was at the Met, and they had kiri Te Kanawa. Later this year it will be in paris, and they have Felicity Lott. Two great Dames of the ROH stage. But who do we get - Ann Widdecombe. Sometimes I despair

  6. John McFarlane responded on 19 April 2012 at 9:53am Reply

    I LOVE it!! :o)

  7. Bill Jowett responded on 2 May 2012 at 7:22am Reply

    Well, I was there! The unjustified ripple of applause when Miss Wiiddecombe took the stage indicated that maybe some people were there just because of her. Which was good! They heard some sublime singing from Patrizia Ciofi and Colin Lee and saw some wonderful acting by Miss Ciofi. The thunderous applause for all the singers, the orchestra and the the chorus - left no doubt that the opera had been hugely enjoyed. As for Miss Widdecombe, in her very small part she was delightfully inept with, I think, as many people laughing at her as with her - but it is a comic opera and a bit of ham acting does no harm. The memory that those of us who could see past Miss Widdecombe (pun partly intended) took home was of a gloriously sung, funny, happy evening. I was there - the gainsayers were not - I win!!!!

  8. I saw it, the singers were amazing, funny and even touching at times but... every time Ann Widdecombe entered the stage or opened her mouth to speak, it brought a smile to my face. What a marvellous stage presence this woman has! Go and see it before you judge her.

  9. Mike responded on 8 May 2012 at 1:43pm Reply

    Saw Ann Widdecombe, a bit like mixing pantomime with Opera. Didn't work for me someone like Dawn French (Joanna Lumley would also fit the bill) would be FAR superior. AW turned it into a bit of a farce, she can't act, can't speak French and lowered the tone although arguably funny in it's own way not for the ROH! Great shame and a bad choice.

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