figaro Con Crerar as Schikaneder

November: Figaro.
April to August: Schikaneder (Don Crerar) in his dressing-room in the semi-staged 'Mozart's Last Year'. Photo Tony Bartlett


2017—The year ahead

We have an exciting programme of music this year, including

November – The Marriage of Figaro

We present 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. As always it will be a fully staged performance, sung in English with orchestra. 'More than a frothy romantic comedy'?

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

Principal roles in Figaro are:

Figaro Shaun Aquilina
Susanna Camilla Foster-Mitchell
Count Almaviva James Corrigan
Countess Almaviva Louise Harrington
Cherubino Lydia Holmes
Barbarina Lucy Fitt
Marcellina Tamsin Slatter
Don Basilio Duncan Powell
Curzio Jim Petts
Bartolo James Mitchell
Antonio David Bunney

Beyond November, we plan a concert double bill, with extracts from Figaro and G&S.

Spring and summer – 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!

In 2016

Rossini's LA CENERENTOLA (Cinderella) was our main production in 2016. We had a successful and hugely enjoyable 3-night run at Arlington Arts in November. – All about Cenerentola.