Paul Drayton's astronomically-inspired song-cycle was first performed at Wells Cathedral by Edward Goater (tenor) and Christopher Sheldrake (piano). Truro 3 Arts and Events Truro College are delighted to welcome Edward and Christopher to perform the Cornish Premiere of this work.
Brahms: Vier Ernste Gesange
Schubert: Prometheus & Ganymed
Goater: I sing of a Maden
Venables: At Midnight
Venables: Flying Crooked
Venables: Vitae Summa Brevis
Venables: The Hippo
Drayton: One Night...
• Aldebaran at dusk
• The Brightest Planet and her Guest
• ...In a thousand years
OPERAVISION is such an amazing free resource. Watch opera from around the world, online, FOC.
Coming up soon: Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti from Opera North 24/08/18
"On the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein's birth, (re)discover the American composer’s first opera in which jazz rhythms trouble suburban bliss."
More operas to watch:
by Mozart from Royal Opera House Covent Garden
only a few days left to watch
Orfeo & Majnun
by Adwan/Moody/Van Der Harst from Festival d'Aix-en-Provence
Lucia di Lammermoor
by Donizetti from Teatro Real Madrid
Les Contes d'Hoffmann
by Jacques Offenbach from Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam
by Bellini from Teatro La Fenice, Venice
La Princesse lègère
by Violeta Cruz from Opéra Comique Paris
The Second Violinist
by Dennehy / Walsh from Irish National Opera and Landmark Productions Dublin
by Donizetti from Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
by Handel from Komische Opera Berlin
Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci
by Mascagni / Leoncavallo from La Monnaie / De Munt Brussels
Birgit Nilsson 100 year Anniversary Concert
from Royal Swedish Opera
by Offenbach from Komische Oper Berlin
Opera Crown - Tbilisi International Voice Competition
from Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theatre
by Gioachino Rossini from Teatro Comunale di Bologna
Rossini Gala - Homage to Alberto Zedda
from Opera Vlaanderen Antwerp
Eros & Psyche
by Różycki from Polish National Opera Warsaw
by Verdi from Royal Swedish Opera Stockholm
by Verdi from Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía Valencia
by Verdi from Den Norske Opera Oslo
by Wagner from Opera Vlaanderen Antwerp
Duchy Opera: The Merry Wives of Windsor: Burrell Theatre Truro: 30 May 2018
There was much to enjoy in every department of Duchy Opera’s latest production of Otto Nicolai’s opera buffa, The Merry Wives of Windsor, which was imaginatively directed by Angela Agutter Thomas: singing, acting, staging, costumes and accompaniment.
As in previous years, including their last very successful production of La Traviata, the company wisely invited professionals from elsewhere to join local talent for roles they cannot fill. Richard Woodall was an impressive Mr Page, and especially noteworthy, Matthew Palmer as the suspicious Mr Ford.
Whether the soprano professional, Caroline Childe, could be classed as a visitor, we shall hopefully see now that she has come here to live after a distinguished career but as Mistress Ford, she has possibly the largest role in the opera and her singing and acting were superb.
The other ‘out of county’ newcomers for this production were the tenor Arthur Swan, as the penniless lover, Fenton, who in the final scene gets to marry the Pages’ daughter, Anne, sung by Rachel Phillips. Their duet charmingly contributed to the happy finale.
Others from the company who effectively completed the cast were Sue Lancaster as Mistress Page (her duet with Caroline in Act 1 was justly applauded); the alto Sheila Collins took the traditional bass role (not as a singer!) and was splendidly foppish as the French dandy, Dr Caius, wearing an extraordinary, colourful costume. Her rival for Anne’s hand was Slender, laudably sung by the tenor Bruce Cross. Completing the cast there was, almost inevitably, John Hobbs as the larger than life, Falstaff. Despite the indignities he suffers at the hands of the scheming Wives, he clearly enjoyed himself. He seems to have been in the company for ever and never fails to impress in the variety of roles he has taken. It is not only his acting and fine bass voice that commends him, but his diction. One can always hear every word – a lesson for many others in the company. The musical director, Paul Drayton, intends to put down the baton after this; he will be difficult to replace. We may see him in performances as the conductor, but his work beforehand in rehearsing the soloists and especially the chorus has always been thorough.
Patiently getting them to sing with confidence and robustly resulted in the best performance that I can remember. The score for two electronic pianos provided a very suitable substitute for the orchestra well executed by Antony Trodd at the top end and Suzanne Brodie for the bass.
The Edwardian (?) costumes were fitting, colourful for Falstaff and especially for the French dandy, Dr. Caius. For a touring production, visiting smaller venues than the Burrell Theatre, the scenery, well lit, was imaginative and adequate (Sheila and Paul Collins). The central tree, made barren with the foliage removed for the ‘spirits’ was ingenious. It was, however, this final scene in Windsor forest that was the weakest in the direction with too many spirits for the stage, however spookily lit, and the movements of Falstaff, Slender and Dr Caius lacked conviction. But overall, this was a memorable production in which the whole company can be proud.
Thanks to ©Linda Petzing for photography
It was great to see Jenny Agutter at one of our final rehearsals and you can hear her talking about "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and Duchy Opera on the David White Show. Go to 1:51 (about "Call the Midwife" - her TV show) and 1:55 for Duchy Opera.
Thanks, Jenny, for your encouragement!
Since its debut in 1977, Duchy Opera has built up a reputation as one of the finest regional semi-professional opera companies in the UK.
It performs an annual opera using its own chorus, soloists and orchestra, plus professional soloists where required. Regular concerts are also performed throughout the county.
After many successful years as Director of Music, Paul Drayton will be stepping down in the Autumn of 2018 and Duchy Opera is now looking for a successor. The role requires experience of opera musical production with both singers and orchestra and applicants will need to have time flexibility with availability for extra rehearsals being essential. Our production in 2019 will be during June/July.
An honorarium is payable, to be discussed at interview.
If you are interested in the position please send your curriculum vitae, contact details and covering email by 15 July 2018 to
Not long now to our #NIGHT AT THE #OPERA. Will you be there?
The Merry Wives of Windsor will be visiting Perranporth (Weds 23rd May) & St Austell (Thurs 24th).
Truro and Penzance performances are the following week at Truro Burrell Theatre (Weds 30th May) & Penzance Penwith College Zennor Theatre (Thurs 31st).
The last two venues are Bude (Sat 2nd Jun) and Falmouth (Thurs 7th June).
If it's Thursday it's Merry Wives of Windsor night!
Tickets £15 (£7.50 under 18s)
Book at CRBO Phone 01726 879500
The subject of "Shakespeare in Opera" was thoroughly explored on Saturday May 12th when Paul, in his inimitably relaxed and disarming manner, led his audience through some key scenes in Nicolai's sparkling comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, Duchy Opera's current production, amply illustrated by music recordings. filmed opera scenes and expertly performed 'snippets' on the piano.
He compared Nicolai's German treatment of this play with an Italian approach to the same story by Verdi in his final masterpiece Falstaff and we encountered doomed love in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette plus magical fantasy in Britten's 1960 opera A Midsummer Night's Dream with references to Mendelssohn's incidental music for the same play. We saw how librettists and composers of the 19th / 20th centuries gave Jacobean drama a fresh lease of life on the operatic stage and how opera composers skilfully sculpted the original text to allow for the extravagant elaborations required in the recitatives and arias we love to indulge in.
A thoroughly enjoyable and enriching afternoon!
You can see the opera in a theatre near you as part of the Cornwall tour which is about to start Future
Spring is on its way! We have something to celebrate!
Please come along to our Spring Concert
Saturday April 7th 2.30pm at Tresillian Village Hall *
Tickets at the door - £5. (under18 free)
Refreshments by Baker Tom - donations welcome.
*Fairfax Road, Tresillian, Truro, Cornwall, TR2 4AZ