Belfast Operatic being festive cheer to the Opera House stage

The festive spirit, or rather three spirits, filled the Grand Opera House this week when Belfast Operatic made a welcome return to the stage with a revival of the popular musical A Christmas Carol.

The musical, based on the beloved story by Charles Dickens, follows the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge from ‘bah humbug’ to Christmas redemption.

Filled with songs from composer Alan Menken, this production of A Christmas Carol is a joy from beginning to end.

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Colin Boyd returns to lead the cast as Scrooge and he brings humour and compassion to the role in his own inimitable style. He has made his mark on the role and it is hard imagining anyone else stepping into his shoes.

He is joined by a fantastic line up of talented local actors, including Ciaran Conlon as the put-upon Bob Cratchit and Jane McKibbin, who made her first but surely not last performance with Belfast Operatic, as she took on the role of Mrs Cratchit. Well known for her roles with Lisnagarvey Operatic, Jane was note perfect and brought a power to Mrs Cractchit which the role deserved.

Also a stalwart of Lisnagarvey Operatic, Simon Pyper, who first appeared with Belfast Operatic at age 6, donned his festive garb and tap danced his way into the heart of not just Ebenezer but also of the audience with his performance as the Spirit of Christmas Present.

Special mention must go to Matthew Campbell, again a first-timer with Belfast Operatic, who gave a stand out performance as the haunting ghost of Jacob Marley. It is no wonder that Matthew’s voice stood out, as he is world renowned as a member of the acclaimed Shamrock Tenors group.

A large ensemble chorus of all ages joined the cast to bring the story to life with an array of colourful costumes and foot perfect choreography, which conveyed both festive joy, as well as fear and turmoil, something which is not easy to achieve.

The youngest cast members certainly displayed talent that belies their age, with Duarta Silva Moreira pulling at the heart strings as Tiny Tim.

Screen projections and a simple, stripped back set, brought the story to life and if you think singing with two feet on the ground is a challenge, try doing it suspended in mid-air as members of the cast flew across the stage, much to the delight of the audience.

At the end of the show the audience were quick to jump to their feet as the opening night drew to a close and gave the hard working cast their first, and very much deserved, standing ovation in 18 months.

It was a delight to see Belfast Operatic return to the stage they have made their home.

If you want to get the festive season started in style then look no further than this production of A Christmas Carol, which is sure to have you saying “God Bless Us Everyone”.