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What’s on at Grimeborn 2022?

2022 marks the 15th year of Grimeborn Festival at the Arcola Theatre. Our reimagining of Carmen will run as part of the festival from 9th – 13th August at 7pm. Click here to book tickets.

The festival programme for 2022 is brilliant as always and we are delighted to be part of it. Here are just a few of the other productions you can catch this year:

The Boatswain’s Mate

10 – 13 August 2022
Music and libretto by Ethel Smyth
Direction by Cecilia Stinton

Spectra Ensemble returns to Grimeborn with its acclaimed revival of this 1914 opera by Suffragette composer Ethel Smyth, complete with all the quintessential sounds and sights of British summertime.

June 1953: peace reigns in Europe, and the waters of the English Channel are troubled only by holidaymakers, as Britain celebrates the coronation of its new Queen. Young and old alike have flocked to Margate for summer loving and strolls on the promenade.

But at a quiet pub set back from the seafront, the landlady has a nuisance on her hands. She’s confronted with a suitor who simply won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. And, when he comes up with a last-ditch plan to win her heart, our formidable heroine gives him more than he’d bargained for…

The Magic Flute

17 August – 20 August 2022
W.A. Mozart, new English Libretto by Lindsay Bramley
Direction by Benjamin Newhouse-Smith

Returning following a sellout season at the Arcola in 2019 with Rossini’s Count Ory, Opera Alegría continue on their own journey to chart a course that balances respect for and joy derived from opera, and bringing it to new audiences in ways that make it ever more engaging and accessible.

Tamino and Pamina find themselves caught between the machinations of the Queen of the Night and her enemy Sarastro, on a quest for truth, honesty, love and balance.

Bluebeard’s Castle

31 August – 3 September
By Béla Bartók
Direction by Eleanor Burke
Musical direction by JP Jennings
Arrangement by Thomas Ang

Green Opera is the world’s first environmentally sustainable opera company, bringing together artists with a passion for environmental practice in this synthesis of art-installation and theatre.

Judith stands on the threshold of Bluebeard’s Castle. Seven doors are locked before her. Needing to know what secrets lie beyond the doors and within the man she loves, she steps into the darkness.

This innovative production of Bartók’s only opera explores the obsessive desire of an artist-muse relationship and how women interact with male fantasies projected onto them.

Sin The Musical

25 August 2022
By John-Michael Mahoney
Directed by John-Michael Mahoney

A little sin can’t kill you… Can it? Experience the world premiere of an original musical that blends jazz with contemporary pop to tell a story of hope, ambition, and betrayal. When an unexpected inheritance injects wealth into a group of working-class friends, it’s only a matter of time before opportunity corrupts the minds of those who encounter it. Watch a turbulent two years unfold into devastation. From the mind of a young, new writer. A mixture of sharp wit, exhilarating drama and a vibrant score drops you into 1920s New York.

Sumida River in Sign Language

4 September 2022
By Kanze Motomasa
Devised by the company from a Deaf perspective and based on the Japanese Noh play Sumidagawa
Music and Direction by Verity Lane

A ferryman takes a woman across the churning waters of Sumida River in search of her lost son, but all she finds is a ghost child. Poignancy and comedy mix in a shifting kaleidoscope of sign languages and spoken word, where Deaf performers are played like musical instruments, where drums beat to the sound of speech and song, where silence is as deep as the world. Verity Lane’s scintillating production is a re-imagining of a 650-year-old Japanese Noh (mask) play Sumidagawa which inspired Benjamin Britten to compose his musical parable Curlew River. It stars Chisato Minamimura as the Mother and Brian Duffy as the Ferryman, with percussive music and haunting shadow play.

The Unravelling Fantasia of Miss H

9 September – 10 September 2022
By Red Gray and Sarah Nicolls
Text based on the embroidered words of Mary Frances Heaton
Directed by Zoe Bouras

The Unravelling Fantasia of Miss H. is a poetic portrayal of a Victorian woman imprisoned by a society intent on control.

It is 1837 and Mary has been arrested for a breach of the peace. She is an outspoken woman and the authorities of Doncaster are confounded. They sentence Mary to a lifetime confinement in Wakefield Asylum.

Mary Frances Heaton’s tale is told through her own words, her defiant protests stitched into embroidered samplers and discovered in the asylum years later.

Mary’s struggle to hold on to her identity and reach the outside world speaks across the years, her outrage at a corrupt system urging us to ask ‘How much have things have really changed?’

This contemporary opera is a new composition by soprano Red Gray and Sarah Nicolls with her inside-out piano.

 

Visit the Arcola website to see the full programme.

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Not just Samantha….

I’ve never been that interested in the idea of a ‘femme fatale’. What is that in today’s society? What woman is that confident/arrogant about her own attractiveness? I doubt anyone seen as gorgeously attractive – even a Hollywood star for example – doesn’t also have their own physical insecurities.

So this part of the way Carmen is usually depicted in the opera seems to make her both less realistic as a human and also less sympathetic for a character at the centre of a story. The director, Mathilde López, of Longborough’s recent production recently commented on how this makes her the ‘idea’ of a woman rather than an actual person. And personally I always want to find how we as the audience feel sympathy for characters (even the most morally grey like Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus) so that we are thoroughly invested in what happens to them.

I also discovered on reading Mérimée’s original story that Carmen’s sex appeal, while certainly a part of her character, also feels just one part of her character – she is also defined by her need for freedom (& what does that mean in the context of the story and in the context of her relationship with Don Jose), her need to enjoy life and particularly enjoy her own cunning at outwitting others (yes, usually men). She’s strong, independent and sassy and yes some men find her sexy but she’s not flaunting her sex appeal just for the sake of it.

I also think, in this day and age, saying that the most interesting thing about this woman is that she enjoys sex and can have sex without emotional attachment and, shock horror, might sleep with a man and then break up with him feels a bit Samantha, Sex and The City late 1990s. Is that really the most interesting thing we can say about this woman in 2022? It feels rather uninteresting and old fashioned male gaze.

No offence to Samantha of course – but like her Carmen is a much more interesting character than only to be seen through an old fashioned male gaze as a sexy, sexual being. 

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What do LEGO, Peter Brook and Beyoncé have in common?

They’ve all done re-imaginings of Carmen!

Reimagining Carmen – one of the most famous operas fullstop – for our Baseless Fabric #HighStCarmen version definitely feels more weighted than our previous Cosi Fan Tutte or Die Fledermaus. There is so much history to it and so many people have so many opinions on both the character of Carmen and the story itself! However, it is also one of the most adapted stories – in fact Bizet and his librettist collaborators (Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy) adapted it themselves from Prosper Mérimée’s novella. And we are never ones to back down from a challenge of a bold re-imagining so here’s some of the good company we’re in – you might find a new favourite interpretation of this story yourself!

Prosper Mérimée’s novella Carmen
This is the original. The male author telling the story through a male narrator (called Mérimée) who is told the story of a man, Don José, of his relationship with a woman, Carmen. Lots of masculine layers of telling this story of a woman even in the original!

Fascinating also that Don José was a pretty good smuggler in this version whereas in Bizet’s opera he’s generally shown to not be very good in that world. He also kills several people – including Carmen’s husband Garcia (wait she’s married?) – before killing Carmen. Not exactly the good, mild mannered boy then… Oh and Micaela doesn’t exist.

Carmen Jones the musical
One of our personal favourites. A 1943 Broadway Musical that combines Bizet’s original music with new English lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein (co-creator of The Sound of Music and The King and I) and places the story in an African–American setting during World War II. The movie version with Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte was released in 1954. We think Dorothy Dandridge makes a particularly cool sassy Carmen and Don José is properly engaged to his sweetheart Micaela. (A lot clearer than ‘the bringing news of your mother’ chat between Micaela and Don José in Bizet’s version if you ask us).

Beyoncé’s Carmen: A Hip Hopera
Well, we can’t say that is our favourite but it is a lot of fun! And interestingly a re-telling of Carmen Jones the musical rather than either Mérimée’s novella or Bizet’s opera. Of course Beyoncé is a super sexy Carmen and the film plays with the ending in an interesting way – with Don José being blamed for killing both Carmen and the Zuniga character – but it was actually Zuniga who killed Carmen…

 

Peter Brook’s La tragédie de Carmen
The master storyteller. His version has just the 4 singing characters that we do but rather a starring speaking role from Lilas Pastia in the tavern who also seems to have quite the relationship with Carmen. There’s also a comedy ‘holding up a dead body and pretending he’s not dead’ scene in the tavern…as you do…

Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man
This one’s a dance production. And about a man. And apparently it’s not based on Carmen but is loosely based on James M. Cain’s novel The Postman Always Rings Twice….ok. Haven’t seen this one ourselves sadly but we hear it’s a goodie…

 

Lego Carmen
And finally our favourite. Introduced to us by a Merton primary school music teacher and we hope that lots of children get to experience this version. A super fun way to spend 10minutes (or so) on YouTube. 

 

So watch out world….If LEGO and Peter Brook can reimagine Carmen – so can we! Come see us this August!

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Want to feel ‘part of the show’?

We always need a few extra pairs of hands at our Street Opera performances helping out our Stage Management – giving out flyers, moving the musicians’ music stands and keeping an eye on audiences’ safety crossing roads. It’s a fab way to be part of an exciting local community event and great fun! But don’t just take our word for it – ask Kathie, who’s helped us out at our productions over the last few years and comes back each time!

– Why do you like helping out at a Baseless Fabric Street Opera production?
 

Here’s Kathie keeping a beady eye on our musicians after a performance!

It is very exciting to see the enthusiasm of talented singers and musicians bring a traditional Opera to life with a very modern twist. With live street performances in the Merton/Wandsworth areas, as a volunteer for some time I really feel part of the ‘show’ too. For anyone that isn’t famiiar with Opera you cant help being bewitched by the modern approach both in the interpretation and in the music. So check the dates to watch Carmen or even offer to help! I might see you on 21st Aug in Wimbledon Village while you are shopping or having a drink in a pub garden. Enjoy!

 
– Do you have a favourite opera? 
 
Have always enjoyed the Group’s but have seen The Marriage of Figaro which I loved.
 
– Do you have a favourite local area or business to go into in Merton/Wandsworth? 
 
A few local spots Al Forno Restaurant and you can’t beat Cannizaro Park area and sitting outside with a nice glass!
 

So come join Kathie & our team for a sneak peek into our rehearsals, a helping hand at a performance and probably a nice glass of something after the show!

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Carmen & the Balloon of Hate

Our After School Opera Club are gearing up for their own final production inspired by Carmen but with their own ideas for new songs, spoken scenes and characters. They’ve worked so hard in their weekly sessions since January evolving these ideas as well as improving their acting and singing skills and we are so proud of how they’ve all developed! As part of their work they recently had a brilliant session with set designer Sorcha Corcoran and costume designer Hannah Williams where they learnt more about theatre design and shared their ideas about what their show should look like with the designers. I think every production of Carmen should have a garden party and a balloon of hate, don’t you?!

We are very excited to see the group’s final performance after a full week of rehearsals in the summer holidays and they will also be able to discuss their production with our professional opera singers and musicians. And then the group will also come and see our professional street performance the following week. It’s going to be a busy summer!

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Announcing dates and locations for Carmen this summer

Baseless Fabric will present 10 free street performances of Carmen reimagined this summer on the high streets of South London from 4th – 21st August 2022.
The piece will also be presented at the Arcola Theatre from 9th – 13th August 2022 as part of Grimeborn Festival.

Following the success of 2019’s sell-out Die Fledermaus (★★★★ The Guardian, ★★★★ The Stage) and their recent Cosi Fan Tutte, which was an Off West End Award Finalist for Best Opera Production, we are back this August with our new production of Carmen. With a re-imagined score for violin, accordion and bassoon by acclaimed young composer Leo Geyer of Bizet’s famous tunes and a colloquial contemporary English libretto by director and librettist Joanna Turner, this daring new production places Bizet’s characters directly on today’s high street.

This original high street adaptation will pop up in over 30 locations across Wandsworth & Merton including cafes, pubs and supermarkets to give local people the chance to experience opera, who might not ordinarily do so. Our performances aim to change attitudes to the art form and encourage people to realise that opera can be fun and not elitist, expensive, boring or irrelevant, as it can often be perceived. 

For the Arcola’s Grimeborn festival, we will adapt the show with design by Marina Hadjilouca and lighting design by Joe Price. This will give an opportunity to experience our innovative modern re-imagining in a new close-up context.

Street Performance Schedule

Thu 4th Aug 5-6pm Colliers Wood
Fri 5th Aug  1-2pm Mitcham
Fri 5th Aug  5-6pm Roehampton
Thu 18th Aug 5-6pm Wandsworth Town
Fri 19th Aug 11am-12pm Pollards Hill
Fri 19th Aug 5-6pm Clapham Junction
Sat 20th Aug   1-2pm Raynes Park
Sat 20th Aug  5-6pm Wimbledon
Sun 21st Aug  1-2pm Putney
Sun 21st Aug  5-6pm Wimbledon Village

Performances are unticketed. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook for updates on starting points. #HighStCarmen

Grimeborn Festival

Venue: Arcola Theatre, Studio 1
Dates: Tues 9th to Saturday 13th August 2022
Time: 7pm
Running time: 60 minutes no interval
Ticket Prices: from £12 (concessions available)

BOOK ARCOLA TICKETS >>

 

Visit the Carmen show page to read about our amazing cast and creative team, watch the trailer and more!

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Announcing the Cast of Carmen!

We are delighted to announce the cast of Carmen:

Felicity Buckland – Carmen (Arcola Theatre)

Felicity Buckland

Felicity trained at the RNCM and on English National Opera’s Opera Works programme.

Recent solo appearances include Kasturbai, Glass Satyagraha for ENO, Wellgunde Wagner The Rhinegold for Birmingham Opera and Nicklausse, Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann for Kentish Opera. Previous ENO highlights include cover roles in The Valkyrie, The Mask of Orpheus (Birtwistle), Orpheus in the Underworld, Carmen, and Olivier-Award winning Porgy and Bess. Elsewhere she has sung the title roles in Carmen (Kentish Opera) and La Cenerentola (High Time Opera); Rosina The Barber of Seville (Opera South) Rossweisse Die Walküre (Grange Park Opera); Olga Eugene Onegin (Opera Up Close, Opera South East, Mid Wales Opera (cover)); Dorabella Così Fan Tutte (Baseless Fabric Theatre); Cherubino The Marriage of Figaro, and 3rd Lady The Magic Flute (both Opera Up Close). She is a regular extra chorister for The Royal Opera House, ENO and Opera North.

Felicity is in demand for solo oratorio, music education projects and consort/session work, and is delighted to be a regular part of Baseless Fabric’s Learning and Participation Projects.

Jonathan Cooke – Don Jose

Jonathan Cooke

Born and raised in Cheshire, versatile tenor Jonathan Cooke enjoys a varied singing career both in England and abroad. He studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has worked with some of the country’s biggest opera companies including Garsington, Scottish Opera, Grange Park Opera, Longborough Festival Opera and West Green House Opera.

Jonathan’s operatic rôles include divers characters such as Ruggero La Rondine (RCS), Le Mari Les Mamelles de Tiresias (RCS), Eisenstein die Fledermaus (Fulham Opera, Baseless Fabric), Squeak Billy Budd (St Endellion Summer Music Festival), Turridu, Cavalleria Rusticana (Hampstead Garden Opera, North Wales Opera Studio) Cavaradossi Tosca (Bridgetower Ensemble Opera, North Wales Opera Studio) and Lensky Eugene Onegin (Opera South East).

Outside of opera, and amongst other things, Jonathan is privileged to sing for Songhaven, a dementia-friendly concert series.

Pre-lockdown in 2020, Jonathan sang the rôle of Pinkerton in Opera Up Close’s tour of Madam Butterfly. During the pandemic, with performing opportunities sparse, he still managed to perform in socially-distanced performances of Tristan und Isolde, Tosca, and Carmen. Most recently, Jonathan returned to Kentish Opera to sing the title rôle in The Tales of Hoffmann.

Susannah Horowitz – Carmen (Street Performances)

Susannah Horowitz

Mezzo-Soprano Susannah Horowitz is a Masters graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, coached by Catherine Wyn-Rogers and James Baillieu. She is a graduate scholar BMus (Hons) of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

This season, Susannah will make her debut with the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus for their Summer 2022 season. She has been a Young Artist with Nevill Holt Opera since 2017, including Chorus for Puccini’s Tosca (directed by Oliver Mears), cover Marcellina in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (directed by Joe Austin), gala and concert performances, and documentary filming for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2019.

Susannah has performed in opera scenes including Flight (Dove) – Stewardess. Hänsel und Gretel (Humperdinck) – Hänsel. Die Zauberflöte (Mozart) – Dritte Dame. Carmen (Bizet) – Mercédès. Giulio Cesare (Handel) – Sesto, in addition to working in depth on the character of Dorabella (Così fan tutte, Mozart) with British Youth Opera. During her time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Susannah performed in two opera productions, La Rondine (Puccini) and Sir John in Love (Vaughan Williams) directed by Benjamin Davis.

Alongside opera, Susannah is an experienced choral and session singer, working with organisations including London Voices and Warner Bros Games on film, television, and game soundtracks.

A full biography can be found at susannahhorowitz.com

Nicholas Morris – Escamillo

Nicholas Morris

Nicholas trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). This summer he will appear in A Kind Man by Jonathan Finney and perform in Kussen’s Where the wild things are with Shadwell Opera in Bamberg. Recently he has appeared for Theatre Magdeburg as Monterone in Rigoletto and in the world premiere of King Kong by Jeffrey Ching, sung the Mayor in the community opera Bloom Britannia by Orlando Gough, recorded Margaret Catchpole by Stephen Dodgson for Naxos, taken the title role in the world premiere of To see the Invisible by Emily Howard at Snape Maltings, played Garibaldo in Rodelinda, and sung Marcello in La Boheme. In previous seasons he has made his debut in Croatia as Smirnov, The Bear, performed in the Portuguese and British premiers of the contemporary work Hummus by Zad Moultaka and appeared as Maxwell Davies’ Mad King and as the Officer in Glass’ In the penal Colony with Shadwell Opera.

Before training as an opera singer, Nicholas studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, where, when not singing or playing rugby, he read history and philosophy of science. During his time at Cambridge he was a member of King’s College Choir. He began his singing career as a chorister at Peterborough Cathedral.

For more information please visit www.ndmorris.co.uk

Claire Wild – Micaela

Claire Wild

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, Welsh National Opera as Emma in Khovanshchina and Garsington Opera as Caridad The Skating Rink, a newly commissioned opera by David Sawer.

Concert repertoire includes ElijahMessiah‚ Carmina 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).

 

Leo Geyer – Arranger/MD and Bassoon

Leo Geyer

Leo Geyer is a young composer and conductor with a passion for imaginative, daring and dramatic approaches to music-making, encompassing new work, cross-disciplinary collaborations and re-imaginings of existing music. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Constella OperaBallet, Cover Conductor for The Royal Ballet and Music Director for EMG Symphony Orchestra, and works as a guest artist internationally.

Leo has received various accolades for composition, having most recently been awarded the Lord Mayor’s Composition Prize. He has received particular acclaim for his stage works, including his opera The Mermaid of Zennor, described by The Times as “imaginative and beautifully shaped”. Leo has fulfilled major commissions, which include works for the European Capital of Culture, Tate St. Ives, Opera North, Rambert Dance Company and BBC Singers. Leo is also establishing a reputation for his “re-imaginings,” which creatively engage with music of the past to extend its significance for today’s audiences. Most notably this has included the addition of a chorus to Elgar’s Enigma Variations to provide a possible solution to the “enigma puzzle”.

As well as his current conducting positions, Leo also works as a guest conductor, collaborating with The National Theatre, Ensemble 212 (USA), AUT (Denmark) and Southbank Sinfonia. Leo’s performances continue to receive critical acclaim, such as Constella’s performance of Pierrot Lunaire: “Leo Geyer directed with authority and complete command of an immensely demanding score”, British Theatre. Upcoming engagements include Theater an der Wien (Austria) and the English Chamber Orchestra.

Aged 19, Leo founded an orchestra which has now grown to become Constella OperaBallet – the world’s only company dedicated to the fusion of opera and ballet. Leo has brought together some of the UK’s finest young artists in over 60 critically acclaimed performances across the UK including broadcasts on TV and radio. Upcoming projects include a performance as part of the Chelsea Flower Show, a production as part of The Brontë Society’s bicentenary celebrations, an opera-ballet bringing to light undiscovered music written in Auschwitz, and national project celebrating coal mining to be performed in a specially commissioned touring installation

London-born, Leo studied Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music on the Joint Course, graduating with two first class degrees and The Soroptimists International of Manchester Award for Composers/Conductors. As part of his studies, Leo also attended the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts to study conducting with Uroš Lajovic.

www.leogeyer.co.uk.

Ilona Suomalainen – Accordion

Ilona Suomalainen

Originally from Helsinki, Finland, Ilona Suomalainen graduated with a Masters degree from the Royal Academy of Music in 2017, studying under professor Owen Murray. Since then, she has gone on to establish a varied and diverse career as a freelance accordionist in the UK, with recent projects including work with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, Opera Holland Park and Birmingham Opera Company. Outside of classical music, she regularly performs with the Israeli pop-jazz singer Irit Dekel, most recently supporting Caro Emerald and Lisa Stansfield on their respective UK nationwide tours.

Before moving to London, Ilona graduated from the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki with a MMus degree studying with professors Matti Rantanen, Veli Kujala and Mika Väyrynen. In 2006, she won first-prize in the Finnish National Youth Accordion Competition and with her accordion trio, BCH, won the Chamber Music, Accordion Orchestra and Overall categories at the 2011 International Accordion Competition in Pula, Croatia. The trio also received the prize for the highest points ever awarded in the competition’s history.

A passionate teacher and educator, Ilona currently teaches accordion at the International School of London and privately across London. As part of her studies at the Sibelius-Academy, she also undertook an intensive course in specialised pedagogical training, which qualifies her to teach in educational institutions from pre-school to university.

Louisa Till – Violin

Louisa Till

Louisa is an active violinist and teacher based in London. She studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Cecily Ward, James Clark and Pavel Fischer, gaining both BMus and MMus degrees.

At the RNCM, Louisa participated in projects with the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and Chamber Orchestra of Europe, as well as touring internationally. Since moving to London, Louisa has particularly enjoyed her musical theatre work, performing in venues such as the London Palladium.

Louisa is delighted to be joining Baseless Fabric Theatre for their reimagined Carmen production.

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From German arias to the Amazon Rainforest!

Following the success of September 2020 and May 2021, we returned last week for a third tour of care homes to bring some musical joy to residents and staff across Merton and Wandsworth. It was a glorious, sunny week with only one wet morning – a miracle considering the unpredictability of the British weather! Not that the rain stopped us! Concert wellies were adorned and our incredible performers Claire Wild and Carla Ruaro didn’t bat an eyelid, performing their 7th well received concert of the week under a canopy during the showers.

The repertoire, put together by Claire and Carla, took us around the world from British folk songs, to German arias, to music from the Amazon Rainforest! It was a perfect balance of famous favourites and introductions to something new.

“Everyone is so lovely and professional. The music is superb. Loved it all. The residents wanted them to come back next week!”

“A great big thank you to you all for the preparation and performance today. It really was something special. Thank you so very much and if at all possible we would love to be a host again next year. Very happy and uplifted. Very much enjoyed the whole concert”

It was wonderful to be invited back again to the care homes we have built relationships with over the last two years, as well as to have been able to make connections with two new homes this time around. We cannot thank the staff enough for their enthusiasm and kindness during our visits, and it was an absolute delight to watch residents light up, dance and even sing along during the concerts. And excitingly, again 100% of residents and staff felt that their mental wellbeing improved from our concert and 94% want us back!

A big thank you to the Postcode Lottery for funding this week and supporting us in bringing these concerts to care homes.

 

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Gearing Up for Carehome Concerts

We are just one week away from our carehome concerts. Thanks to the support of the Postcode Community Trust, Soprano Claire Wild and Pianist Carla Ruaro and a small team will be bringing an hour of opera and musical joy to the gardens and carparks of 8 carehomes across Wandsworth and Merton.

 

Claire Wild

CLAIRE WILD – SOPRANO

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, Welsh National Opera as Emma in Khovanshchina and Garsington Opera as Caridad The Skating Rink, a newly commissioned opera by David Sawer.

Concert repertoire includes ElijahMessiah‚ Carmina 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).

 

Carla Ruaro

CARLA RUARO  – PIANIST

Carla is a pianist, researcher and educator dedicated to contemporary music. Carla holds a Master’s Degree in Music Performance & Related Studies – Goldsmiths University of London. She was executive director of the social organization Amazonart UK, where she developed social, cultural and educational projects in England and Brazil. Between 2006 and 2012 Carla worked for the British scheme Live Music Now in London, a cultural institution founded by Yehudi Menuhin where she gave workshops and concerts of Brazilian music throughout England, Ireland and the Arab Emirates. In 2012, she won the Funarte Prize with the project “Multiplying Brazilian Music in the Amazon”, where she began the plans to bring the piano to the riverside communities of the Amazon. In 2017 she carried out her first project, a film documentary and a CD called “A Piano in the Amazon” winner of several awards at film festivals in USA, Brazil, Finland and Morocco.

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Bizet meets TikTok and 10 year olds!

Our After School Club at Links Primary is now well underway and the school hall is filled with the sounds of Toreador and Habanera sung by our wonderful group of Years 4-6 and our brilliant workshop leaders Bim and Ruth. 

A few weeks ago Fizz Buckland, who plays Carmen in our professional production this summer, also joined the group for a few games, to discuss the characters and story, and of course to sing! So the group were able to hear what her (very loud!) voice sounds like and ask her questions about what it’s like to be an opera singer.

The group will be creating their own new songs and scenes inspired by Carmen over the coming months leading to their own performance this summer. Congrats to everyone involved for their hard work this term and we look forward to seeing you again after the Easter holidays!