Original Soundtrack

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Poppy Review

by Bruce Eder

Monty Norman (of "James Bond Theme" fame) composed the music for this musical built around the Opium Wars of the 1840s, in conjunction with Peter Nichols' libretto. The music is better than the Orientalist ersatz that one might expect (especially from the Overture), and the exoticism is balanced by a certain degree of elegance in the music and performances, and a dark edge to the songs. This was Norman's final stage work, closing out a theatrical career that had begun 25 years earlier, and it once more reminds us of his unjustifiably underrated and neglected talent.