figaro The Count and Susanna

James Corrigan (the Count) and Camilla Foster-Mitchell (Susanna) in Act 1 of Figaro,


2017—a year of Mozart

Our programme this year included

November 2017– The Marriage of Figaro

We presented Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at Arlington Arts, near Newbury, on the evenings of 2 to 3 November 2017, and the afternoon of Saturday 4 November. Our audiences were well up on last year. As always it was a fully staged performance, sung in English with orchestra. More about Figaro.

Stan Pretty, who directed Cenerentola, returned as stage director. Ben Hamilton (La Traviata in 2015) was our conductor, and we welcomed as stage manager Allie Greenwood, who has worked with Newbury's New Era Players.

Spring and summer 2017– A Mozart concert plus!

Mozart died aged 35 in December 1791 and our 2017 concert series, 'Mozart's Last Year – a celebration in song and words' was mostly opera and choral works from his final year, when his creativity was as astonishing as ever. But not just singing – some items were staged and acted. The show was driven by Emanuel Schikaneder (1751 – 1812), the actor-manager, singer and librettist, a close friend of Mozart, who invited us into his dressing-room to hear his recollections of the composer. The programme.

The opening performance was in the splendid acoustics of the Majendie Hall, in Speen, Newbury. On 21 May we had an afternoon performance in Letcombe Regis Village Hall, near Wantage — complete with afternoon tea. In July we returned to HADCAF arts festival in Hungerford, this time in the United Reformed Church.

The final show date was part of Stockfest festival, Stockcross. On an August evening in the village's Sutton Hall, a capacity audience enjoyed themselves at cafe tables. Newbury Weekly News reviewer Derek Ansell thought it a varied and fascinating programme — and reflected on Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong too. The perfect end to a wonderful venture!

And on to 2018

Beyond November, we plan a concert double bill, with extracts from Figaro and G&S. More details, for performers and audiences, will appear here and on Twitter.