1st of April – No Joke

Our concert for the Royal United Hospital in Bath is just around the corner. It seems that the 1st of April is a popular date for many events but, despite this, we are pre-selling tickets at a steady pace. We have been busy placing our flyers in many outlets and keeping up our online presence via Twitter,  Facebook and Pinterest- a new venture for us.  We are delighted with our posters and the support we have received from The Forever Friends Appeal team at the RUH in Bath. The programme will include some very well known duets including The Flower Duet from ‘Lakme’ by Delibes, The Pearl Fisher’s Duet from the Opera of the same name by Bizet, The Barcarolle from ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’ by Offenbach, La Ci Darem La Mano from ‘Don Giovanni’ by Mozart and  the trio Soave Sia’il Vento from ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ by Mozart. The chorus of young voices will join the ensemble of principal singers for a selection of famous choruses.

Our second half will be entirely dedicated to the music of Bizet’s most famous Opera ‘Carmen’. Our Artistic Director, Susan Coates, loves an Oxfam Book Shop and found a copy of an arrangement of Carmen for SATB.  It included most of the iconic melodies from the Opera and makes a perfect 40 minute programme for a concert and designed to be sung by an ensemble of any size.  With the help of the local Performing Arts Library she found a number of the scores hidden away in Lincolnshire and was able to develop her idea. She started by inviting many of the singers who had performed with Opera Sulis over the past 10 years to share the solo lines and invite the choir of St John and St Mary’s Church in Devizes, conducted by colleague Chris Totney, and some of her own vocal students, to make up a choir of young voices to raise funds for the RUH in Bath. The arrangement of the Carmen score was created in 1926 by Maurice Besly with the piano accompaniment remaining faithful to the original transcription of the orchestral score  We are very lucky to have the wonderful pianist skills of Nick Goodall who makes quick work of learning the intricate accompaniment.  We decided to extend some of the numbers, notably the Toreador song, Card Trio and felt that any performance of Carmen would not be complete without the tenor solo aria, known as The Flower Song, and due to be sung by our Spanish tenor, Carlos Alonso.

The concert has been no mean undertaking, arranging venues, scores, singers, rehearsals, publicity, printing and then performing on the night itself, but it is such a worthy cause that all the hard work will be worth while.  We are hoping to welcome ‘Ted’ The Forever Friends Bear to the concert, who may well be shaking a bucket at people on the way out.  With ticket prices of only £9 in advance and £10 on the door, we are hoping our audience will feel generous as they leave. To buy your tickets visit The Neeld Community and Arts Centre, High Street, Chippenham or buy on line at http://www.neeld.co.uk. 20170121_124044

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