Cosi Fan Tutte Cast Announced

We are delighted to announce our cast for the 2017 promenade performance of Cosi Fan Tutte:

The Cast

Claire Wild

Claire Wild – Fiordiligi

Claire Wild attended the Royal Northern College of Music‚ sponsored by the Peter Moores Foundation and the Musicians Benevolent Fund. She won the Webster Booth Award‚ the James Oncken Song Prize and the Frost Brownson Award.      

Highlights in recent seasons include Lilli Vanessi / Katharine in Kiss Me, Kate and Elle La voix humaine for Welsh National Opera, Susanna Le nozze di Figaro for Regents Opera and Petra in A Little Night Music for Opera Project at West Green House.

Concert repertoire includes Elijah, MessiahCarmina Burana, Bach St Matthew Passion, Mozart C Minor Mass. She has performed Dallapicolla Commiato and Stravinsky Pulcinella (Royal Northern Sinfonia) and Christmas and New Year Galas (Raymond Gubbay, Orchestra of Opera North, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and London Concert Orchestra) and Messiah (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra)

Next season Claire returns to Welsh National Opera as Emma in Khovanshchina and makes her debut with Garsington Opera as Caridad The Skating Rink, a newly commissioned opera by David Sawer.

 

Felicity Buckland

Felicity Buckland – Dorabella

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.

 

Simon Gfeller

Simon Gfeller

Simon Gfeller – Ferrando

Swiss-Canadian tenor Simon Gfeller studied with Gail Desmarais in Montréal, with Adrian Thompson at the GSMD and attended the Franz-Schubert Institut (Vienna).

Recent engagements include Lysander in A Fairy Queen at Iford Festival, Ubaldo in Donizetti’s Pia de Tolomei with English Touring Opera as well as Scythian Guard Iphigenie en Tauride, Pete Peterson Paul Bunyan, 2nd Priest (and cover Tamino) Die Zauberflöte also for ETO.

He recently sang Florestan in Die Schumann Sonate for TAKK Theatre Lichtenstein & STOCK Theatre Zurich, the title role of Glück’s Antigono with Ensemble Serse and 6th Servant in Strauss’ Capriccio for ROH, Covent Garden.

Other operatic credits include St-Brioche The Merry Widow, Billy Mahagonny-Songspiel, Ringmaster The Bartered Bride, 4 servants Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Pastore Orfeo, Armed Man Die Zauberflöte, Alfred Die Fledermaus, El Remendado Carmen, for companies such as London Philharmonic Orchestra, Opéra de Montréal, Ryedale Festival, Opera Project and British Youth Opera.

 

Tom Stoddart

Tom Stoddart – Guglielmo

Tom Stoddart is a baritone from South-East London. He studied voice at Trinity College of Music. Whilst at Trinity, Tom represented the college in the finals of the Kathleen Ferrier Junior Bursary Award. Since graduating he continues his studies with Robert Dean.

In 2016, Tom participated in English National Opera’s ‘Operaworks’ course, during which he had the opportunity to work with expert practitioners including Mark Wigglesworth, Jane Robinson, Mike Alfreds, Martin Constantine and Peter Robinson. 

Tom has worked extensively on the stage; recent engagements include ‘3rd brother’ in Kurt Weill’s “7 Deadly Sins” for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Ilan Volkov and 49 date tour as Figaro in “il Barbiere di Siviglia” for the critically acclaimed ‘Pop-up Opera’

Additional operatic work includes: Dr Malatesta – Don Pasquale (ENO ‘Operaworks’), Billy Jackrabbit – La fanciulla del West (Opera Holland Park), Captain (cover) – Onegin (Grange Park Opera), Count Almaviva – Le nozze di Figaro, Morales – Carmen, Count Danilo – The Merry Widow, Marcello – La bohème,  Paul – Les Enfants terribles (UK premiere).

In 2012, Tom created the role of ‘Chandler’ in “Friends: The Opera”, commissioned by Comedy Central and premiered in front of an eclectic celebrity audience at the exclusive “Box” nightclub in Central London. In 2015, Tom played ‘The Policeman’ in an opera flashmob advert for Sacla, which has been watched by almost 3 million people.

This summer, Tom can be seen as ‘Papageno’ in The Magic Flute at Soho Theatre in London.

 

Philip Smith

Philip Smith – Don Alfonso

One-time zoologist and National Otter Surveyor of England, Philip Smith hung up his waders to study singing, first at the Birmingham Conservatoire and then with Barbara Robotham at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating with distinction in 2008. He is a Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme alumnus, Samling Artist and Crear Scholar. He continues to study with Robert Dean.

Recent highlights include Endymion/Charon Orpheus for the Royal Opera House at The Globe, Sid Albert Herring for Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Witness 6 Icarusat the Montepulciano Festival, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte at the Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari and Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice (André Tchaikowsky) for the Polish National Opera.

In concert, Philip has performed with orchestras including the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Ensemble 10/10, Manchester Camerata and the Northern Sinfonia with conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Clark Rundell, David Hill and Nicholas Kraemer.

In the current season, he performs Der Sprecher Die Zauberflöte for Opera di Firenze, Verdi Requiem at Sage Gateshead, Handel Messiah with Leeds Philharmonic Society, Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony with Ripon Choral Society and a recital for Leeds Lieder. He also covers Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice for Welsh National Opera.

 

The Musicians

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.

 

Olivia Jarvis

Olivia Jarvis – Violin

A primary school teacher asked her class to stand up if they wished to play the violin. Little did they know that Miss Olivia Jarvis had actually misheard her teacher and stood up thinking she was going outside to play; and so began the best mistake of her life.
Olivia’s passion and drive for music has grown immensely since her primary school days. Constantly striving for the unachievable, she immerses herself in music of all dimensions whether it be trios, orchestra or solo works. Her motivation is not limited to just performance, she is constantly thinking up entrepreneurial ways to exhibit classical music to the best of her ability. The Aldwych Sinfonia (a vibrant young professional un-conducted ensemble) was founded by Olivia in 2012 and is one of the most vibrant groups in the performing sphere as the players can exhibit their talents as soloists as well as chamber musicians.
All of this attributes to her youth days in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music. Olivia gladly returned to the Royal Academy of Music for her masters degree in performance after finishing her bachelors degree in music at King’s College London. Inspiration for her music and interpretation has always been a collective result of her learnings from great teachers and maestros. One of her most vivid memories was playing Shostakovich’s Symphony No.7 Leningrad under the baton of Sir Mark Elder in the BBC Proms. Not only this but her teachers Frances Poole, Nina Martin and Richard Deakin have enhanced her creativity and expanded her musical mind and made her the musician she is today.
Olivia’s solo and chamber performances are numerous and constantly expanding. She has been fortunate enough to have been given opportunities to play Mozart, Bach, Haydn, Shostakovich and Szymanowski concertos on a number of occasions in England and abroad in Europe. Her most recent recital was given to HRH Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein.
As well as her solo performances, Olivia takes great joy in participating in orchestras symphonic and operatic; Olivia has led young professional orchestras in London such as the Opera Holloway, Eroica Ensemble and co-lead in Outcry Ensemble. Olivia plays on a Carlo Antonio Testore violin c1701.

 

Bartosz Glowacki

Bartosz Glowacki

Bartosz Glowacki – Accordion

Bartosz Glowacki is one of the leading lights of a new generation of accordionists. His artistic goal is to continue to improve awareness of the accordion in classical music, as well as to develop a new repertoire for his instrument. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in class of Owen Murray with first distinction and Regency Award for noticeable achievements. He is one of the City of Music Foundation 2016 artist and artist in residency at Aldeburgh Music.
Bartosz won the Polish Young Musician of the Year in 2009, following which he represented Poland in the Eurovision Young Musicians Competition in Vienna. Here, he performed Mikolaj Majkusiak’s “Concerto Classicco” for accordion and symphony orchestra in the grand finale with the ORF Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He is a winner of many prizes in National, as well as International Music Competitions. He is a recipient of The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, John Hosier Special Award 2015 and Zygmunt Zaleski Foundation.
As a soloist he has performed in many prestigious concert halls, for example The Royal Albert Hall, The Wigmore Hall, The Royal Festival Hall, The Purcell Room, Salle Cortot, The Colston Hall, Studio SI of The Polish National Radio, and many others. He has premiered compositions by Luke Bedford, Richard Causton, Richard Ayres, Luke Bedford, Christopher Austin, Maciej Zimka, Marko Nikodijevic, Diana Burrell and Johannes Schöllhorn and many others.
As well as being a soloist, Bartosz is extremely active chamber musician. He is a founding member of The Deco Ensemble, described as an “exceptional ensemble of the highest caliber”, with a “strong and highly individual voice”. Deco Ensemble’s debut album ‘Encuentro’ was released in July 2015 featuring works of modern tango composers.
During his career he collaborated with many great musicians such as Nigel Kennedy, Trevor Pinnock, Rob da Bank, Atom String Quartet, Meccorre String Quartet, Dave Maric and many others. Bartosz has worked with musical institutions like The Royal Opera House, The Royal Ballet, National Theatre, London Symphony Orchestra, The Chroma Ensemble, The Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Welsh National Opera, The City of London Sinfonia, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Sinfonia Varsovia, ORF Symphony Orchestra and many others. With these institutions, he has performed multiple new operas and orchestral works, which feature the accordion in several different styles. His plan for the year ahead is to release his debut CD “Out of the Depths” featuring contemporary music for accordion by composers such us Magnus Lindberg, Luciano Berio, Sofia Gubaidulina and Vladislav Zolotaryov as well as new commissions from promising British composers. Bartosz has been awarded the place in Open Space scheme 2016 in Aldeburgh Music to conduct innovative projects with accordion.

Probably not one for the opera purists!

Ok, first things first – ‘libretto’ is just the opera name for the words that the characters sing. I’d not written one before and now, for our upcoming production of Cosi Fan Tutte, I’ve tried my hand at this for the first time. It was quite hard! But really fun and exhilarating at the same time. And having worked as Assistant Director on Opera North’s production a few years ago, I knew this story inside out and so had very clear ideas about what I wanted to cut to make a shorter version (which bits of music though lovely don’t move the plot forward etc) and how I wanted to re-imagine this story for the modern world around us.

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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! 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

Are you interested in singing or acting in Merton?

We hope you managed to catch Drifting Dragons on your high street and you were given one of our info flyers with details of local music and drama groups that you can get involved in. If not, here are the details of some groups in the area:

Merton-Music-Foundation-logo

Merton Music Foundation (MMF) – www.mmf.org.uk
Established as a charity in March 1991, MMF provides high quality music education for children in Merton. One of the Charity’s key priorities is to support schools in the provision of an enriched music entitlement for all pupils. Instrumental and vocal tuition is available for both individuals and groups, and a wide range of orchestras, bands, choirs and ensembles are provided for those keen to experience the benefits of group music making. The Foundation has an active programme of project development with professional musicians and artists regularly working with children in Merton schools and at the Borough’s Music Centre. Other services include instrument hire and financial support for families in need. Read more

Composing Drifting Dragons

Drifting Dragons outside M&S. Photo: Oliver.john Works

Drifting Dragons outside M&S. Photo: Oliver.john Works

It was a daunting prospect. Write an opera? I had written a considerable amount of instrumental music and songs for theatre before but never an opera. This would be something new.

Those who have been following the Drifting Dragons journey will know that it began life around a year ago. Joanna Turner, Artistic Director of Baseless Fabric, wanted to create a promenade opera about the lives of Londoners. She was looking for a composer and I nervously but eagerly raised my hand across cyberspace. Before long we had agreed to work together and were interviewing local people in Merton (Baseless Fabric’s home borough) about their views on opera, as well as finding out about their lives and memories, which would ultimately feed into the story of Drifting Dragons. The theme for the opera soon established itself as friendship and how over time it can be rocked by setbacks and challenges. I set to work writing the libretto and music for a short work-in-progress performance at the Wimbledon Theatre at the end of January 2016. Read more

Interviews with the cast of Drifting Dragons

We had a chat with our cast of Drifting Dragons about what they really put in their supermarket shopping basket. Check us out in your local Morrisons this week!


Greg Harradine

Greg Harradine

Name: Greg Haradine

What do you play and where did you train? “Piano and Guitar and I trained at Kingston University and did a degree in Music Technology then a Masters for Composing for Film and TV.”

What made you decide to be a composer? “Music has always been the thing I love doing, not wanting to practise an instrument for hours, composing seemed to be the thing to do!

What do you do in your spare time? “I enjoy cycling and running, reading, but also hanging out with my friends”

If we bumped into you in the supermarket, what would you have in your shopping basket? “Tough one, I’d have lots of fruit and veg, bit of salmon maybe, some chicken and also some eggs, I’m a simple guy!” Read more

Cast announced for ‘Drifting Dragons’

We are excited to announce the cast for our upcoming production of ‘Drifting Dragons’. This production is a new street opera coming to the streets of Merton and we’re also taking it to the Arcola Theatre’s Grimeborn Opera Festival

 

Felicity-Buckland-headshotFelicity Buckland
Sadie

Felicity trained at the RNCM where she received the Eunice Pettigrew Prize and graduated with 1st Class Honours, and later on ENO’s Opera Works programme. She currently studies privately with Mary Plazas.

Her operatic appearances include Cherubino The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Up Close); Cupid Orpheus in the Underworld and Ida/cover Orlovsky Die Fledermaus (Opera Danube); Cunaide Iernin (Surrey Opera); Una, Kiss Me, Figaro! (Merry Opera) and Mercedes Carmen (Co-Opera Co). She has also spent seasons in the chorus at Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera where she covered Annina in La Traviata, and as a chorus mentor for Birmingham Opera.

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