Corn Exchange, Dorchester

HAY bales and a row of sunflowers, that was the onstage scene that greeted members of the audience upon their arrival to see a production of Mozart’s superb comedy opera performed by professional company Opera Holloway.

Re-styled to take place during World War 2 with the men being called up for army duty and the girls working as land girls, the story of love, trust and deception fits nicely into the modern setting as the boys set out to discover whether their girlfriends are faithful to them by turning up in disguise and setting out to seduce them.

With the first act played strictly for laughs, the foursome make the most of the comic situations as they roll in the hay and find a new use for spring onions. before the plot thickens to become a beautifully played emotional journey of love rediscovered.

The young cast of talented singers bring sparkle and joy to the work, their professional skills being highlighted by the musical accompaniment of a string quartet and piano which amazingly captures the majesty of Mozart’s genius, thanks to the sensitive musical direction of Lewis Gaston.

Performed throughout in Italian with English surtitles high above the stage, the story line was fortunately less important than the music as the audience struggled to read the strange typeface above them but all ended well and loved conquered all eventually thanks to memorable performances by the entire cast.