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When is our next opera?

We have managed to keep singing in concerts through the pandemic years, and send heartfelt thanks to the venues, directors, musicians and audiences who made it possible.

The year 2022 is unlikely to see us on stage again, but we hope to be back in 2023 with a full production. This site will carry the news as it breaks. In the meantime, do check our 25 years of grand opera, in words and pictures, here!

 

2022: Sing the summer through

For the last two summers, we've been kept going by concerts in gardens, churches and village halls (pictures below). This year, the two so far arranged are in Hungerford:

25 June: Jubilee Opera Evening

Hungerford Rotary Club, supported by Arts for Hungerford, brought a Glyndebourne-style opera and picnic evening to the town's Croft Hall. We performed two sets, including some all-time greats (Va, pensiero, Soave sia al vento, The cats' duet), and some not so common (Federico's lament from l'Arlesiana, Two Gendarmes, and Hearts of Oak!). There was interval picknicking in the Croft.

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7 July: Hungerford Summer Festival

We make a very welcome return to Hungerford's Summer Festival 2022, presenting another huge spectrum of song, from the sublime to the ridiculous. It's at 7.30, in the marquee at the Croft Field Centre, tickets are £10 and you can buy them here.

Sadly, the outdoor concert planned for the lawns of Newbury's Shaw House in September will not now take place. With post-pandemic holiday travel happening once again, too few singers would have been available for the event to go ahead. We hope to be back next year.

In 2021: a Christmas Mix and other concerts

December, a Christmas Mix

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Christmas Mix: the Messiah selection

We were delighted to find a pre-Christmas slot at our usual staged venue, Arlington Arts. The "Christmas Mix" show, led by Steve Bowey, featured highlights from the Messiah, followed by a quick costume-change and then a "jingle all the way" second half with carols, Christmas songs and readings.

Summer 2021 — Unlocked again!

In July 2021, just like in late summer 2020, we made our return to live performing with distanced outdoor concerts in Wantage and Newbury. We chose arias and choruses from grand operas that we all love – by Puccini, Verdi, Mozart and more. We called the show Opera Unlocked and presented it in the gardens at Old Church House in central Wantage and on the lawns of Shaw House, Newbury.

In August we went indoors for a third performance, complete with cream tea, at Brimpton's village hall.

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The gardens at Old Church House (top), and the audience view of Opera Unlocked at Shaw House (Margo Payne)

Just a reminder — Amahl and the Night Visitors

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This was our last staged production. Together with Opera Unmasked, in January 2020 just before lockdown we presented 'Amahl and the Night Visitors', Menotti's beautiful one-act opera, AND a selection of Great American Songs. All in one show!

They played:

Amahl was marvellously sung and acted by 13-year old Edward Bennet, and the part of his mother, following illness in the company, was sung by Emily Kyte for two nights and Serenna Wagner for one. We were joined for the first time by members of Wantage Choral Society and Wantage Church Choir; and once again by dancers from the Karen Brind school of dance.