Love musicals? Hate opera? Think again!

We asked Francis, originally a musicals fan, to tell us why we converted him to opera.

I am a musical theatre geek. I’m a self-confessed Renthead and up until a few years ago I hated opera…. But I didn’t realise I was watching the wrong opera productions. Here are 5 reasons why I think, if you love musicals, you should try Baseless Fabric’s free Die Fledermaus:

It’s in modern English and you can hear the words

I thought opera was always in another language or if it was in English you couldn’t really hear the words clearly, sometimes you have to be looking and reading the text from a screen?! – but that doesn’t have to be the case. In the Baseless Fabric’s opera productions the words are clear and you can easily follow the story of what’s going on. In fact Die Fledermaus actually has both spoken scenes and songs so it’s even more like a musical. Read more

Chatting to Wandsworth Radio about Street Opera

Last Saturday Artistic Director Joanna Turner headed to Wandsworth Radio to talk about our Cosi Fan Tutte Production. To listen to the broadcast just click the play button above. She also talks a little about our next production by David Mamet as part of National Libraries Week, Reunion & Dark Pony.

We still have a few remaining Cosi Fan Tutte performances in Mitcham, Wimbledon Village and Wimbledon Town Centre. Check out the Cosi Fan Tutte production page for details.

“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!

Read more

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

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

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 Harradine

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

AFCD Sweet Pea

Greetings, Team Lilac/Amber/Lucy/David/Ciaran/Seema!

As you may remember, customers of the A First Class Death service were given a little gift from our founder Jennifer at the end of the opening ceremony evening – a personal note of advice from Jen’s list and some sweet peas for you to grow.

So how are the sweet peas doing? The first photo has come in from @RachelTurner284!

Send us your sweet pea photos over Twitter/Facebook! We’d love to see them!