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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

A Night at the Opera


Tom Morgan

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We spent a pleasant few hours at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre last night, watching the premiere of Zeppelin Dreams, an English Touring Opera production based of the events of January 31st, 1916, when two Zeppelins, L19 and L21, bombed the Black County towns of Tipton, Wednesbury and Walsall. As in many operas, the story's told in a slightly disjointed way, so you need to read the synopsis in the programme to really understand what's happening, who and where the characters are and so on, but the huge cast of professional and local amateurs, children and adults, did a great job. The whole thing was done very much in the spirit of Remembrance, with the raid's victims remembered individually by name at the end. An unusual addition to the current Centenary-inspired output of books, TV programmes and articles.

Tom

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Come to think of it, it was a bit like THAT Night at the Opera. It was strange for a non-opera fan like me to hear Kapitänleutnant Dietrich singing 'Get the bombs ready' in a sweeping, operatic style. <philistine> They did have a real 1913 Sunbeam motorbike, though, so I felt I was on more familiar ground when that came on. :) </philistine>

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I feel really Grouchy I thought you meant the real Night at Opera.

Don't Harpo on about it

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Yes, Mark. The opera had the ship setting off from Nordholz with Liverpool as the intended target. There was another scene set aboard the Zeppelin, in which the commander decided he was over Liverpool and silenced an officer who suggested that he might be wrong. The programme notes made reference to the error, too.

Tom

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Tom very modestly failed to say that the programme's 3-page overview of the 1916 zeppelin raid was written by Tom Morgan himself, who better!

I thought the highlight was the officer who disagreed with Kapitänleutnant Dietrich saying "Das ist Tipton!"

As Tom said, an excellent and moving performance from a huge cast, of all abilities. I though the lead female was one of the professionals from the English Touring Opera, but actually was a local school teacher.

Very moving, and quite by chance I was sat in the seat directly behind Sir Tom! Cheapest seats of course.

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I thought the highlight was the officer who disagreed with Kapitänleutnant Dietrich saying "Das ist Tipton!"

A history-making moment - it must have been the first and only time in world history that the word 'Tipton' was ever uttered in an opera! I thought I heard a muted cheer from behind me.

Tom

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