During late September/early October 2020 we headed to seven different care homes across Wandsworth and Merton to provide a concert to their residents and staff to try and bring some musical joy and lift spirits during these difficult times of Covid 19. Kindly funded by Wimbledon Foundation, Merton Giving and Sylvia Waddilove Foundation we performed outside in the car parks and gardens of care homes so that residents and staff could safely enjoy our socially distanced performance. Check out our video for a peek at what we got up to!
This week we are kicking off our opera care homes project! Soprano Claire Wild and Pianist Elspeth Wilkes with a small team are visiting a number of different care homes in Merton & Wandsworth. We’re going to be Covid-19 safe with our team working in car parks and gardens at the care homes and have handgel, masks and thermometers at the ready!
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 Elijah, Messiah‚ 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).
Elspeth Wilkes – Pianist
Born in Leigh-on-sea, Essex, Elspeth studied at King’s College, London, Trinity College of Music and Royal Academy of Music. She has performed at venues including St John’s Smith Square; Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House; St Martin-in-the-Fields; Kings Place; Trafalgar Studios; Savoy Theatre, West End as well as performing recitals in Greece, Spain, Portugal, France and South Africa. Elspeth has performed at the Ravenna music festival, Italy, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival where she won the ‘Oscar’ award.
Elspeth has worked with BBC Wales, Royal Ballet, Royal Shakespeare Company and Southbank Sinfonia and has performed for HRH The Princess Royal. She also performs regularly for the charities Lost Chord Foundation and Music in Hospitals working with people suffering from dementia.
Elspeth has worked as a repetiteur/musical director with many opera companies including Opera up Close (winning an Olivier award for La Boheme), Opera Brava, Merry Opera, Northern Ireland Opera, Kings Head Opera and Opera de Bauge.
Elspeth is the conductor of Thurrock Choral Society and assistant conductor of Barnes Choir and is a member of the Bridgetower Ensemble.
We are looking for reliable, enthusiastic volunteers with an interest in theatre, music and community projects to help us create our Cosi Fan Tutte re-imagined for high street locations in Merton, South London.
No experience necessary – all training will be provided! Volunteers will get a sneak peek into our rehearsals and travel expenses covered on performance days. We also provide tea & cake! To find out further details or if you have any questions please contact General Manager, Astrid Hilne.
Need more info? check out our Cosi Fan Tutte page.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Following on from the success of last year’s successful Creative Networking Event, we are excited to again be collaborating with Attic Theatre Company to host another similar event this May. Last year’s event was at the new Merton Arts Space in Wimbledon Library and this year we’ll be in Mitcham Library.
It was a fun friendly evening for local creatives of all disciplines to meet and chat over a glass of wine and meet like-minded local creatives and this year will be no different. As well as the informal networking we’ll also have an opportunity for several creatives with upcoming projects or events to present to the group – including hopefully hearing more about the exciting Merton Borough of Culture Film project!
As Mamet plays in libraries is a bit different to opera on the high street, we thought perhaps you might be interested to hear a bit more about our forthcoming production of Reunion and Dark Pony and why it’s taking place in libraries across South London.
Firstly, we aim to present one opera and one theatre production a year. Last year it was street opera Drifting Dragons and digital promenade theatre piece A Secret Life, which took the audience on a journey round the streets and ended up for a scene in the wonderful Mason’s Arms pub. Both of those projects were new pieces based on local people’s stories and inspired by the many local people across Merton and Wandsworth we spoke to about their memories.
This year we have left new stories to re-discover old ones and present them in unusual public places. You don’t often hear Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte in the pub or the supermarket do you? But you do with us! So we wanted this year’s theatre production to also be a classic in an unexpected place.
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.
James, our Stage Manager, interviewed our singers and instrumentalists of the Cosi Fan Tutte Street opera in rehearsals this week…
What is your favourite opera or composer?
Tom Stoddart (Guglielmo): “Favourite composer, Mahler, who never wrote any operas or Tchaikovsky. And my favourite opera is Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky.”
Simon Gfeller (Ferrando): “Favourite composer I think Mozart. But it’s generally the opera I’m doing at the moment as I fall in love really quickly with what I’m doing.”
Philip Smith (Don Alfonso): “La Bohème by Puccini would be my favourite opera quickly followed by quite a lot of Britten”
Here at Baseless Fabric we are pretty passionate about giving everybody a chance to experience theatre and opera. Opera in particular is frequently seen as an art form that isn’t for ‘everyone’ and we truly believe it is and that everyone should have the chance to experience it. Luckily we have several wonderful funders who agree with this idea, including the brilliant Wimbledon Foundation who support charities in our home borough of Merton.
We were lucky enough to attend the exciting Wimbledon Championships this year and Artistic Director Joanna Turner was interviewed about the work that Baseless Fabric are doing to bring opera to new audiences and the opera workshops for young people and the elderly that Wimbledon Foundation have so kindly supported. Read more
It’s all coming together for Cosi Fan Tutte Street Opera! We’re super excited to announce our performance dates across the borough of Merton with the starting point in each area. The first scene will take place in the place mentioned below but we’ll shortly be moving on to the next local business for the next scene. So come prepared to follow the story along the high street with scenes taking place in a variety of different businesses with just a short walk in between. We’ve got some crackers of places this year! It’ll be huge fun.
Running time is about an hour but don’t forget, you’re free to stay for as long or as little as you like. So if you’ve never seen opera before but can only stay for 10mins just come watch the first scene – what have you got to lose?! Read more
We are looking for reliable, enthusiastic volunteers with an interest in theatre, music and community projects to help us create our Cosi Fan Tutte re-imagined for free on the high streets of Merton, South London.
No experience necessary – all training will be provided! Volunteers will get a sneak peek into our rehearsals and travel expenses covered on performance days. We also provide tea & cake! To find out further details please contact Artistic Director Joanna Turner.
Volunteers will get a sneak peek into our rehearsals and travel expenses covered on performance days. We also provide tea & cake! To find out further details please contact us!
Need more info? check out our Cosi Fan Tutte page.
We look forward to hearing from you!