Drinks, nibbles & creatives in the library!

What a fantastic evening we had last night meeting all sorts of amazing creative people in Merton! About 60 people joined us and Attic Theatre Company at the Merton Arts Space last night for drinks, nibbles and chatting about all the different creative activities going on in the borough.

It was brilliant to see faces from organisations we’ve previously collaborated with including Jigsaw4u, Merton & Morden Guild and Crown Lane Studios, as well as meet so many new people and hear about all the exciting creative things they’re up to. Writers from a variety of genres, composers and musicians of different styles, actors, singers, visual artists, music and drama teachers, directors, designers, producers, photographers, a magazine producer, talent agent, and am dram enthusiasts…. the list goes on! It was incredible to meet so many local people with exciting creative talents with allsorts of endeavours underway in different creative disciplines right here in Merton! We can’t wait to hear about your future projects!

Two hours wasn’t nearly long enough to chat to everyone so sorry to everyone we didn’t manage to speak to! If we failed to chat, please do drop us an email and say hi…we’d love to hear about what you’re up to and tell you about our plans.

We really enjoyed collaborating with Attic and Merton Arts Space for the event and very much hope this will be the first of many, so if you didn’t make this one please do sign up to our newsletter to hear about future events, and everyone who came along tonight – we’ll be in touch soon to share everyone’s details so those exciting collaborations can start developing!

 

Merton Creative Networking Event

We are excited to be working with Attic Theatre Company and Merton Arts Space to bring together creative people living or working in the London Borough of Merton who may be interested in artistic collaboration in the area. We are holding an informal drinks and nibbles networking event on 15th May 2017 for artists of all disciplines to meet at Merton Arts Space to form new creative collaborations.

The event is hosted by Jonathan Humphreys, Artistic Director of Attic Theatre Company, and Joanna Turner, Artistic Director of Baseless Fabric in association with Merton Arts Space.

You do not need to be a professional artist – we are looking to get to know creative people of all disciplines who live or practice in the local area and are interested in artistic collaboration. You may be an old hand or a newbie or somewhere in between. You may have a definite role or just be curious to find out more. All are welcome.

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Which Cosi character would you most like to go on a date with?

Did you miss out on seeing the R&D preview of our Cosi Fan Tutte Street Opera a couple of weeks ago? Well, do not fear, we asked our team a few quick questions so you could get to know them…

Which Cosi character would you most like to go on a date with?

Nick Morris (Guglielmo): Dorabella; she’d force me to try harder

Lisa Howarth (Fiordiligi): Ferrando, without a doubt. Obviously, I’m biased, but who could resist the tenor line in the tender, beautiful, amazing duet that sparks off ‘per pieta’? (Fiordiligi’s aria)

Simon Gfeller (Ferrando): Despina. She seems fun, intelligent, cunning and down to earth! We’d get along I think!

Olivia Jarvis (Violin): I couldn’t date any of them – they all have severe relationship issues…. Read more

“I’d date Guglielmo if he was filled with marshmallows…”

Wow, running opera workshops for young people can be such fun – and so rewarding! We’ve just run a series of workshops at Merton primary, secondary schools and the fantastic Jigsaw4u as part of our Cosi Fan Tutte Street Opera project, funded by Wimbledon Foundation and it’s really been fantastic. Many of these children would not otherwise have an opportunity to access this art form, and some may not have previously known what opera was, but after a session with us they were confidently singing a Mozart love duet and giving us their best confident cocky Guglielmos and flirty coy Dorabellas!

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Come and see Cosi Fan Tutte in development!

Drifting Dragons (2016), at Morrisons

We’re currently in the middle of our Research & Development for Cosi Fan Tutte, working out how to adapt a 3 hour Italian opera with full orchestra to the high street (perhaps not the easiest task!) But don’t worry, it’s sung with a new modern English text, our singers accompanied by 3 instrumentalists (bassoon, accordion and violin) and we’ve ruthlessly cut it down to about an hour.

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Cosi Fan Tutte R&D Instrumentalists

For our street opera version of Cosi Fan Tutte we can’t have a full orchestra (it’s not exactly easy to walk around with a double bass for one thing) and so, as well as cutting down the opera to 60-75mins in length, we are also arranging it for 3 instruments suitable for promenade performance. We are lucky enough to be working with the talented Composer/Conductor Leo Geyer who is doing the arrangement and leading our team as Musical Director.

You can find out more about all of our R&D instrumentalists below….

Leo Geyer

Leo Geyer – Bassoon and Arranger/MD

Leo Geyer studied composition and conducting at Manchester University, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts. Leo’s music has been performed worldwide and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Leo has had particular success with his theatrical works including his opera The Mermaid of Zennor which was described by The Times as “imaginative and beautifully shaped.” Recent projects include works for the BBC Singers, Opera North and the Rambert Dance Company. Leo currently works at the Royal Opera House as a Cover Conductor for The Royal Ballet. He is also conductor for Wimbledon Symphony Orchestra, Music Director for EMG Symphony Orchestar and Artistic Director for Constella OperaBallet. Recent guest conducting performances include the Manchester Camerata, Psappha Ensemble and the New York based group Ensemble 212. www.leogeyer.co.uk. Read more

Cosi Fan Tutte Workshop Leaders

We’re kicking off our young people’s workshops this week as part of our Cosi Fan Tutte street opera project. We’ll be running workshops at various schools across the borough of Merton over the next few weeks teaching young people about Mozart, getting them singing a bit of the opera themselves and hearing our professional opera singer Felicity Buckland sing! Kindly supported by the Wimbledon Foundation, we’re super excited to be introducing lots of young people in Merton to Mozart’s fabulous music!! 

We’ll let you know soon how we get on but for now wanted to introduce you to our workshop leaders for this project – if we’re coming to your school or group you’ll get to meet these opera professionals over the next few weeks! And we’re all really looking forward to meeting you….. Read more

Announcing our Cosi Fan Tutte R&D Cast

We are proud to announce our singers for the Cosi Fan Tutte street opera R&D. 

The Cast

Felicity Buckland – Dorabella

Felicity Buckland

Felicity trained at the RNCM, and on ENO’s Opera Works programme. She studies privately with Mary Plazas.

Her operatic appearances include Angelina La Cenerentola (High Time Opera); Cherubino The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Up Close); Cupid Orpheus in the Underworld and Ida/cover Orlovsky Die Fledermaus (Opera Danube); Una, Kiss Me, Figaro! (Merry Opera) and Mercedes Carmen (Co-Opera Co). She has also spent seasons in the chorus at Opera Holland Park, as a chorus mentor for Birmingham Opera, and at English Touring Opera, where she also sang the role of Mama in Dust Child, a specially-written opera for children with special educational needs.

Felicity is in demand for solo oratorio, and performs and records extensively as a professional consort singer, including appearing on Eric Whitacre’s Grammy Award-winning choral disc, Light and Gold. She is also a singing tutor and experienced choral animateur, leading workshops for a variety of groups of people.

Felicity is currently preparing the role of Rossweisse in Die Walküre for Grange Park Opera, in their brand new theatre at West Horsley Place. Read more

Announcing our new production

Following the success of our new Merton street opera Drifting Dragons last year, we are delighted to announce our 2017 street opera production of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. It’s a story about love and friendship, cheating, and testing the one you love. Both funny and moving, we’re sure you’ll love following our characters rather complicated love lives taking place on the streets of Merton!

Drifting Dragons (2016)

Our performances will be completely free and unticketed in a variety of places in Merton town centres high – popping up in cafes, pubs, supermarkets, libraries and perhaps at the bus stop! We hope you’ll follow our story and hear the beautiful music as you’re going about your normal life. Perhaps you can do the weekly shop and see some opera at the same time?!

We’re again partnering with Merton Music Foundation to offer local schools complimentary workshops teaching young people about opera, and with organisations such as the New Horizon Centre and Merton & Morden Guild to engage local elderly people with this fantastic story of love, confusion and betrayal. We’ll keep you updated with what we get up to as we go along. Read more

Big thanks to everyone involved in Drifting Dragons

Patisserie Valerie, Wimbledon Piazza

Patisserie Valerie, Wimbledon Piazza

We had such an amazing time running our Merton Opera project Drifting Dragons this summer – we hope you managed to catch one of the performances on your high street or perhaps participated in one of our workshops at schools and young people’s groups in the area.

It was fantastic seeing the surprised faces in Morrisons and M&S as customers realised that other customers were opera singing their conversation! And we were delighted by the positive audience responses – everybody seemed surprised and pleased we’d gatecrashed their lives for 10mins in a public space as they went about their daily life, shopping, waiting for a bus or drinking coffee.

Jigsaw4u

Jigsaw4u

The biggest thanks to all of the local businesses across the borough of Merton that supported the project and allowed us to perform in their stores – Wyevale Garden Centre, The Gorringe Park Pub, Tesco Tooting, M&S and the Qube Centre, Café La Lavella and Morden Library, the New Horizon Centre and Pollards Hill Library, Starbucks & Waitrose Raynes Park, Tag Elezz Café and Morrisons Mitcham, Patisserie Valerie and Morrisons Wimbledon, Saucer & Cup and the Co-Op Wimbledon Park, Maison St Cassien and Bayley & Sage! And also thanks for those involved in our performances as part of the Arcola Theatre’s Grimeborn Festival – Café Route, Dalston Junction station manager, Dalston Square, Hackney Council and of course the Arcola itself. We had so much enthusiasm and support so thank you all! Read more