2015

Guest soloist for Charlton Kings Choral Society, Pitville Pump Rooms, November 28th 2015

Caroline was delighted to make her debut with Charlton Kings Choral Society, providing mezzo soprano solos in Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit and Saint-Saens’ Oratorio de Noel alongside bass Tom Hunt, tenor Deryck Webb, and counter tenor and soprano (and husband and wife team!) Sebastian and Vicki Field, the Mayor and Mayoress of Gloucester.

It was a lovely concert to open the festive season, and we were thrilled to have such a lovely warm welcome.

Private function – wedding, Goring upon Streatley, October 31st 2015

Emmy Destinn preliminary round October 15th 2015

Accompanied by Peter Foggitt. Programme included arias and songs by Dvorak, Verdi and Rossini.

Swan Hellenic Byzantine Empire and Beyond – a tour of the Black Sea with Opera Quattro September 30th – October 14th

Caroline was delighted to be performing onboard Minerva for Swan Hellenic again, this time as part of Opera Quattro alongside soprano Eleanor Ross, pianist Juliane Gallant and tenor Jonathan Cooke.

As well as presenting four evening galas of mixed repertoire, they also ran the passenger choir workshops, the participants of which joined them onstage for their final concert.

Feedback from the passengers included lovely comments such as:

Opera Quattro were superb professionals and fun to sing with.

All musicians were brilliant specially opera Quattro and Olga (pianist)

Please ensure that the Opera Quattro are on board. Their programme and delivery first class. Those people will go far.

 

Private function – wedding, Wiltshire August 7th 2015

Private function – wedding, Hampshire August 1st 2015

Swan Hellenic British Islands and Highlands – a tour of the British Isles with Opera Canteremo June 23rd – July 7th

Caroline was fortunate to be selected to work onboard Swan Hellenic’s Minerva as part of Opera Canteremo alongside soprano Eleanor Ross, tenor Stephen Anthony Brown and pianist John Cuthbert.

Together they presented four evening galas of opera, art song and lighter fare and were delighted to receive some superb feedback from the passengers, which resulted in a further invitation to perform onboard.

Swansea City Opera – Faust June 3rd 2015, Spa Theatre, Bridlington

Bridlington Free Press
Review: Faust, Swansea City Opera, Bridlington Spa

Faust

11:12 Friday 05 June 2015

Faust stands at number 33 on Operabase’s list of the top 50 operas  performed world wide. It is difficult to understand why so low.  Even with the limited resources available to a touring company  like the excellent Swansea Opera, the music, the narrative and the action make a powerful impact.

Director and designer Brendan Wheatley’s Expressionist stage
set was an anonymous 19th century location that was reflected
in the costumes (Gabriella Ingram). The set was flexible enough
to offer variations in elevation for the singers.
The English libretto was by Ruth and Thomas Martin,
further adapted by the company. Normally, I prefer
opera sung in the original language, but words and music seemed well matched.

The overture, with Faust slumped over his desk, was highly
atmospheric. A single light burned above his head and the
corrugations of the backdrop suggested the spines of
his scholarly books. This was our introduction to Ben
Kerslake as the eponymous hero. He was strongest
singing in trio or duet, but he carried off key arias well.

Mark Saberton’s first appearance, as Mephistopheles,
conjured up associations with voodoo as he sported a
top hat, Astrakhan coat and kohl eyes. Suitably demonic
and malevolent, his was the finest display of acting and he
carried off all his arias in bravura fashion.

Rebecca Goulden as Marguerite seemed to have
difficulty playing the ingénue and was initially
unconvincing. However, the Marguerite of the
second half was a different story. Powerful and
tragic as the Fallen Woman gone mad, her redemption in
the finale trio, with that beautiful soprano line
(Purest Angels, Radiant Angels), set me blubbing.

Members of the Cadenza Choir supported the professionals
in giving a rousing account of the Soldiers’ Chorus
(Immortal Glory) and Hakan Vramsmo as Valentin
received louder applause than some of the leads.

Unfashionable it may be, but a packed house at
Bridlington Spa cared little for trendiness and gave
Swansea Opera’s Faust the ovation it deserved.

Review by Mike Tilling

Swansea City Opera – Faust May 22nd 2015, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury

Via loveshrewsbury.com

Opera For The People. Swansea City Opera Tempt Us In!

Opera Dinas Abertawe/Swansea City Opera

Theatre Severn

May:22:2015

Swansea City Opera, to celebrate its tenth year this year, has wheeled out the little performed opera;  Charles Gounod’s,  Faust.

A cautionary allegory with debauchery, hedonism, mild Homo-eroticism, greed and death as its central themes should be explosive……Well it was! This is a powerful, beautifully framed, presented and performed show with such excellence the thunderous applause at the end was not only well earned but well -meant  too.

No one could have left this show disappointed.

With a tale dating back to  the mid sixteenth century, first found in a German book in 1587, the legend of Faust had had one or two face lifts before German Poet Goethe got hold of it in the mid Eighteenth century and wrote his poem, Faust.  Noted as a benchmark in European literature Charles Gounod’s Opera of the same name premiered in Paris around a hundred years later,  in 1859.

With a beautiful Orchestra of twelve players the score was so superbly presented. One was aware that this orchestra was having to hold back its power to allow for the human voices to be heard above;  but really they needn’t to have worried as the voices were strong and powerful and the music blended with the harmonies really as it held its audience spellbound.

Mark Saberton’s Mephistopheles  or the Devil as we know him, was so mightily sinister the audience were dragged in by the sheer power and magic of his performance. We were also wooed by the beauty of Marguerite so strong, so powerful,  so sumptuous.

Brendan Wheatley’s direction shows a superb comprehension of the text, it’s depths and its themes. He has fun with these characters and has brought the temptation, the evil and greed so much to the fore that one could have as easily been watching  a brand new story for this capitalistic, sometimes over greedy world, as opposed to a story almost five hundred years old. Maybe its eternal?

The design was daring and inspiring. Using just a back drop of corrugated iron it gave the area a down at heel, Victorian slum feel . But then the audience were treated to the  lavish costume that gave it the Gothic Mary Shelley kind of ambience.

Tonight  Salopians were treated to a fresh, an entertaining and thrilling evening of theatre. If this is Swansea’s tenth anniversary then I‘ m convinced people will wait expectantly for productions in the many decades to follow.

Perhaps for some,  Opera is a difficult medium to identify with. Maybe it can be ,but having companies with the artistic  integrity and cultural understanding  that  Swansea City Orchestra demonstrated, we should  be seeing and hearing Opera for years to come and the World will be a better place for it.

What’s your price? What would tempt you? Answers on a postcard to Mephistoheles care of Swansea City Opera. I’m sure it will find its way…just  be careful what you wish for!

This is a four star review

Owen Lewis.

Faust at Theatre Severn Shrewsbury

This touring production by Swansea City Opera, and featuring Shrewsbury Choral Society, took us on an inevitable journey to damnation via some lovely melodies and fine acting.

Charles Gounod came up with this telling of the Faust tale back in 1859, and it as a huge hit in its time, becoming one of the most famous and most performed operas for decades. Its strong moral stance gives it a very Victorian feel but it’s also an accessible opera – helped by the fact that this production was sung in English.

Faust (Alberto Sousa) is an old man who realies his life of study has achieved nothing. About to drink poison, he instead does a deal with Mephistopheles (Mark Saberton) who gives him back his youth and leads him to the demure and modest beauty Marguerite (Rebecca Goulden). Mephistopheles tempts Marguerite with jewels on behalf of Faust – it seems bling is a woman’s downfall – and the two young people fall in love.

The curtain opens after the interval to reveal a fallen Marguerite, heavily pregnant, attempting to pray in church while Mephistopheles watches lewdly. Her soldier brother Valentin returns from war and duels with Faust, who had abandoned her and is now himself a drunken tramp of a man. Manipulated by Mephistopheles, Faust kills the brother, whose dying words are to curse Marguerite.

Mephistopheles later gives Faust the chance to rescue Marguerite from prison, where she is facing death for killing her baby. But sensing Mephistopheles’ presence she refuses, and throws herself on God’s mercy. As Faust is dragged to hell by Mephistopheles, she goes to the gallows assured of her place in heaven. Saberton’s devil was a wonderfully disturbing creation of pure evil who knows exactly how best to tempt us – how easily are the two heroes ruined by their weaknesses. Sousa and Goulden were excellent in portraying their characters’ descents to ruin. Credit too must go to Hakan Vramsmo as the brother Valentin who had a beautifully rich baritone voice.

Shrewsbury Choral Society served as an excellent off-stage chorus with the men also appearing on stage as soldiers to supplement what was a small cast.

With its single, simple set this was not opera as grand spectacle but a more intimate experience which had the power to captivate. Enthralling.

Alison Ashmore

Swansea City Opera – Faust May 16th 2015, Ucheldra Centre, Holyhead

Swansea City Opera – Faust May 6th 2015, Borough Theatre, Abergavenny

Faust, City of Swansea Opera

by

Art Scene in Wales
Created May 7, 2015

How times flies when you are having fun – 10 years since City of Swansea Opera raised the curtain on its first show. How times also flies when you have sold your soul to the Devil as poor old Faust finds out in the Gounod opera of the same name.

For this 10th anniversary production the company chose a Victorian Gothic take on Gounod’s once wildly popular work that is coming back into vogue. This was a brave choice, not only due to the massive individual vocal demands it makes of its principals but also the hit-you-between-the-ears big number demands from voice and orchestra.

The problem of how to have the large vocal impact was solved by the sensible use of local singers and choirs to bulk up the cast. The effect was glorious.

Conductor John Beswick and the small ensemble of musicians brought colour and texture from the melody-rich score allowing the singers to make the evening their own in terms of grabbing the audience’s attention.

The tale of temptation and devotion, lust and sacrifice is played out with this sort of sepia tinted Gothic world with the only flashes of colour being the scarlet lining to Méphistophélès’ hat, for example, and the immoral Marthe’s dress. That role was sung and acted by Caroline Carragher with great aplomb and fun.

Angharad Morgan was vocally a magical Marguerite with a glorious  fireworks thrill balanced with gentleness and ultimate pathos in this god-awfully pathetic character’s role. The acting was not sensationally fluid but that could be down to the choice of director Brendan Whatley in making this as much a Victoria melodrama as Gothic horror.

The Faust of the piece was well taken by Alberto Sousa with some eloquent singing and he was given much more to do dramatically as was the case with the particularly rich baritone of Hakan Vramsmo as Valentine. Wagner was brightly sung by Ricardo Panela.

The biggest dramatic role and fun singing came from Mark Saberton’s Méphistophélès, the panto villain of the piece which fitted rather well with this almost Victorian Music Hall boo hiss approach to the opera.

Alexandra Cassidy was a prettily sung Siébel, the lad whose flowers are no substitute for  the casket of jewellery given to Marguerite by Faust (and conjured up by Méphistophélès) which prompts the opera’s most famous aria, the Jewel Song. Add to that the uplifting Soldiers’ Chorus, Méphistophélès’ own tingling trills, especially  The Song of the Golden Calf, and this is a musically compelling evening.

The Victorian Gothic approach to the design was perfectly good although Marguerite’s costume did rather restrict her movement. Well, it seemed so to me, but again that may have been deliberate, and the hat hid her face. Once in her fallen woman clothes she could let it all go a bit more and her mad scene was nicely delirious.

I am not so sure about the corrugated iron set, including a corrugated cross, which was supplied by the Swansea film company that makes the US/UK series that set in Renaissance Italy, Da Vinci’s Demons.  I have struggled to think why the characters live in a sort of metal shanty town but I am sure the answer is out there somewhere. But this was a night for the ears rather than the eyes so I didn’t spend too long trying to work it out.

Borough Theatre, Abergavenny

Gounod’s ‘Faust’: Swansea City Opera

Abergavenny Borough Theatre, May 6 2015

Swansea City Opera and Orchestra
Director and Set Design: Brendan Wheatley
Musical Director: John Beswick
Costume Designer: Gabriella Ingram

Cast: Angharad Morgan / Alberto Sousa / Mark Saberton / Håkan Vramsmo /  Alexandra Cassidy / Caroline Carragher / Ricardo Panela

The overture to this production of Gounod’s Faust began with the restrained tones of a string quartet, and the curtain opened to the bowed figure of the elderly Faust alone on stage lamenting his fate, then from off-stage the sounds of a choir. A strong atmosphere was created from the start, which augured well for this reduced-scale touring production of the still-popular jewel of the mid-nineteenth century French operatic repertoire, sung here in English.

This is Swansea City Opera’s 10th anniversary production, and all credit to Artistic Director Brendan Wheatley for bringing opera to some of the smaller towns of Wales (and England and Scotland) on this 2015 tour – Faust has already been to Milford Haven, Pwllheli and Brecon, and goes on to Holyhead and Rhyl before reaching Swansea at the end of May. All potentially good in pursuit of the company’s laudable aim of making opera accessible and bringing it to new audiences. The people of Abergavenny and around certainly turned out in sufficient numbers to nearly fill the 338 seat Borough Theatre. However, to the best of my knowledge and observation there were no young(er) people there, which was a shame.

Given the small size of the theatre, and of the orchestra, here was an opportunity for an intimate interpretation of Faust, but this was not in the event what we got. Reduced in scale yes, but not restrained in character. So, Méphistophélès, the devil himself and villain of the piece, was here played by baritone Mark Saberton rather more in the style of a swaggering circus ringmaster than the frightening svengali figure (at least as pictures from the time show) cut by the famous Russian bass Chaliapin, one of the classic interpreters of the role at the turn of the twentieth century. Faust, played in this performance by Portuguese tenor Alberto Sousa, is clearly Méphistophélès’s puppet, but there was scope here for more subtlety in the characterisation, given the size of the playing space and the proximity of the audience.

The costume design by Gabriella Ingram is intended to convey the steampunk nature of the production, in a Victorian industrial setting, but with fantastical overtones. Unfortunately, for me, Méphistophélès’s super-shiny pointy metal shoes threatened to upstage him, and steampunk aspects of some of the other costumes looked merely slightly strange rather than adding layers of meaning to the production. Similarly, the set, built to resemble a corrugated iron Victorian city slum, served the purpose of providing an upper level for the singers, but was also sometimes distracting as the performers negotiated ladders and awkward steps.

The singing throughout was excellent from the entire company. Although there could have been more variation in volume, Angharad Morgan’s consistently rich tones throughout her vocal range, Mark Saberton’s deep resonances and Alberto Sousa’s soaring high notes were all splendid, but would have been the more so had they been matched by stronger acting. It is disappointing to see professional opera singers, still – now that the music colleges are paying more attention to the development of acting skills – sawing the air, pacing around the stage or taking hats off and putting them back on moments later for no apparent reason.

That said, there were for me stand-out performances from Swedish baritone Håkan Vramsmo as Marguerite’s soldier brother Valentin and, especially, from mezzo Alexandra Cassidy as Valentin’s friend and would-be wooer of Marguerite, Siébel. The death scene of Valentin, which risks appearing ridiculous, like all deathbed scenes in opera where a singer continues to sing heartily as he or she expires, was particularly well done.  And Siébel, a man played by a woman, also always a fine line to walk in opera, was to me a totally convincing, indeed a compelling, character, combining beauty of vocal tone with first-class acting.

The orchestra, reduced to a mere eight players with John Beswick as Musical Director also helping out on keyboards, gave proficient and sympathetic support to the singers, but as all had to play throughout, they could not deliver the variety of tone colour which a larger orchestra can provide. Neither could they supply the swell of sound that the action really requires at dramatic climaxes in the action.

A feature of this production is the involvement – thanks to funding from the Arts Councils of both England and Wales – of local choirs as part of the chorus. The men of the Gwent Bach Society who joined the on-stage chorus acquitted themselves well. This opportunity was doubtless more rewarding for them than for the larger off-stage chorus, which was, apart from the section in Act One when Gounod intended them to be heard from a distance, a little too remote to be effective, and provided no more than a suggestion of the choral component of the opera.

Bringing a production of grand opera to a small theatre presents many logistical challenges, of which how to deal with the chorus is just one. Lighting is also tricky, being limited by the resources and flexibility of the particular venue, so that in Abergavenny’s Borough Theatre there were times when the singers were not ideally lit. The question is, are the inevitable compromises worth it so as to bring opera to audiences who would not otherwise have a chance to see and hear it? Swansea City Opera, as a touring company, sits between what is offered by local amateur groups and the big opera companies. We have to be grateful that, for now at least, funding enables it to continue, particularly as Mid-Wales Opera has been forced to cancel its planned 2015 autumn tour of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville because of funding problems. And it is wonderful that small towns can offer opera to people on their doorsteps. Would that funding had permitted an additional matinée performance in Abergavenny for local schools. The clear education pack supplied by the company really needs students to come and see the performance for the material in it be brought to life.

The star of this show was Gounod’s music, by turns lyrical, reflective and stirringly rhythmic, and always tuneful. It is an ideal introduction to opera for anyone who has not heard any before. I did, however, wish that we could have magically enlarged the Borough Theatre so as to have had a full chorus on stage, with the swirl of the waltz, the bustle of the inn, the terror of the demons on Walpurgis Night, and a full orchestra to bloom and carry us all away with the drama. As it was we must be grateful that we have touring opera at all, and that people like Artistic Director Brendan Wheatley are prepared to devote themselves to continuing to bring it around Wales.

Further details about the tour can be found at http://www.swanseacityopera.com/

Photographs by Guy Harrop

Swansea City Opera – Faust April 18th 2015, Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon

Swansea City Opera – Faust April 17th 2015, Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli

Swansea City Opera – Faust April 6th 2015, Gaiety Theatre, Ayr

Absolutely brilliant performance last night in Ayr. We were sad that there was not a larger audience to enjoy the great singing and playing and conducting, .all working together to produce a memorable evening. Thank you all.

Swansea City Opera – Faust March 28th 2015, Torch Theatre, Milford Haven

We were joined on tour in Milford Haven by a wonderful operatic society whose vocal and dramatic contribution to the show were invaluable – and we have been extremely lucky that they’ve enjoyed it enough to come and join us in Brecon and Abergavenny too!

An amazing and memorizing Milford performance! Your attention to detail in producing this opera was so carefully crafted in choreography, colour and costume, and had us captivated from the excellent pre-show talk right through to the final curtain. Just wonderfully done!! It was my partner’s first ever opera and he was anxious about going but the talk was so helpful for understanding the plot (we heard every word of all the wonderful singers) and the opera’s setting in the life and times of both Goethe and Gounod, my partner has become your latest convert to the genre!!
I am surprised to know that despite the opera’s successful history, it is not staged much these days. I think the story is totally relevant to our times, and your accessible production made it so, regardless of one’s religious outlook. Faust’s archetypal images and effects, staged and played so passionately by Swansea City Opera, still have us talking. Wishing you every success on your tour!! Thank you!!

Swansea City Opera – Faust March 22nd 2015, Palace Theatre Mansfield

Swansea City Opera’s performance in Mansfield received some lovely reviews, as seen below. Huge thanks go to our local ensemble, who were all sixth form students and sang fabulously, despite there being only five of them!

The talk was most informative, humorous and enhanced enjoyment of the performance. Given the limitations of touring, it was brilliant! Mephistopheles carries the performance!

Found the talk very interesting and it enhanced my enjoyment of the performance. AN AMAZING EVENING!

Had the pleasure of watching Swansea City Opera perform Faust at The Palace Theatre last night and it was truly amazing. I then also had the pleasure of meeting the cast and they kindly gave me an offer to join them in singing backstage and accompanying them. I have to say it was such a lovely experience and the cast are all genuinely talented. Well done Swansea City Opera!

The Messiah, Alto Solo, Côr Penclawdd – March 21st 2015

Caroline was delighted to be invited back to sing with Côr Penclawdd after the success of last April’s Mozart Requiem. Caroline was one of the four soloists, namely Ros Evans, Wyn Davies and Nigel Hopkins.

The ensemble were accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of Wales (leader Carl Darby) and conducted by Tim Crossland.

Swansea City Opera – Faust March 20th 2015, Wolsey Theatre Ipswich

A real test for all the musicians on stage and in the orchestra – who weren’t in a pit, but on a balcony to our right! We received a wonderfully warm welcome in Ipswich, and our thanks go to all involved and all those who came to see us.

Faust – InSuffolk Review
Swansea City Opera

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Friday March 20th

First performed in 1859, Gounod’s opera was immensely popular both in England and Europe during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Even though its popularity has declined over the last century some of its arias and choruses have enduring appeal and the story of Faust and his pact with the devil continues to resonate with audiences and invite new angles of interpretation and direction.

For a successful performance of any opera, one central requirement needs to be met – the singers must be up to the mark. Without exception this was true and there was much fine singing, vocal technique and sharp characterisation on display throughout. Alberto Sousa may not have looked much like an old man at the start of the work but he sounded careworn and disappointed with his life. However, as he recaptured his youth, his voice took on an extra brio and he sang ardently in his duets with Marguerite. Mark Saberton was well cast as Mephistopheles, initially plausible and engaging but gradually turning the screw and revealing his dark depths; his diction was also particularly clear. Angharad Morgan sang Marguerite with a sweet, clear tone, adding an extra sheen in her celebrated Jewel Song. In her unhappy end she found a touching and credible pathos. The smaller parts were all performed with vocal and dramatic aplomb and the local and intriguingly-named Rabble Chorus performed rather better than their name suggests.

A touring production in a venue not specifically designed for opera does involve compromises in the music. The reduced orchestra under the astute baton of Music Director John Beswick, played with great commitment and responded well to the varying demands of the score. However, a string quartet alongside woodwind and keyboard does present some difficulties of balance and on occasions the sound had something of an edge.

Director Brendan Wheatley set the opera very much in the late Victorian era, with extensive use of corrugated iron, the stage space was effectively used and the lighting helped to create an authentic atmosphere. A thought-provoking performance of one of the cornerstones of the opera repertory in a local theatre is always something to cherish and the close attention and warm applause was indicative of the audience’s appreciation.

Gareth Jones

I went to see Faust at The Wolsey, Ipswich and saw an absolutely stunning production by Swansea City Opera. The singing and acting were first rate, as was the chamber orchestra. The final scene was, arguably, the most moving one I had ever seen. The production would have graced some of the more renowned stages. It’s great that we are able to see an opera of this quality in our home town.
Roll on next year, and your 11th Anniversary Tour!

Saw Faust last night at the Wolsey. What a wonderful production! A clever set and some imaginative costumes for a start. Excellent performances all round with a particularly engaging Mephistopheles. I thought Angharad Morgan was in fine voice as was Hakan Vramsmo, but all the company sang and acted well. I also thought that the whole thing was very well conceived and directed and by the end I found I had a lump in my throat as Marguerite walked towards the cross. All three of us thoroughly enjoyed the evening and we look forward to the next production you tour in to the Wolsey. Thank you for a great evening.

Wonderful performance at New Wolsey, Ipswich tonight. Can’t fault singing or acting at all. Not all things come right with a touring production, but I thought that staging could have been slightly further ‘back’ on the stage, the backlight towards the audience was too intense for the length of time it went on for and the siting of the orchestra – who were good – sometimes detracted from the singing. Not the fault of the production, more the fault on no pit, but please don’t let this put you off coming again.

Loved singing in Faust at The New Wolsey Theatre on Friday. What an experience and what a great production. The cast and crew were fantastic. Please invite us to join you again next time!

Swansea City Opera – Faust March 18th 2015, Buxton Opera House

Another successful outing for the company, this time in the beautiful Opera House in Buxton.

Musically excellent, both singing and orchestral. Work deserved a much larger audience.

Swansea City Opera – Faust March 15th 2015, Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell

Caroline was thrilled to see some of her old friends at Park Opera in Bracknell, who had kindly agreed to come and form part of the offstage chorus in Faust. Some lovely comments came back from both choir and audience, and it would seem a good time was had by all! Especially Mephistopheles…

Many thanks for giving us the opportunity to share something of your ‘Faust’. Everybody enjoyed and valued the experience. Nearly half our ‘group’ were not opera buffs. For some it was a first time at an opera – let alone singing in one. So your wonderful idea – and risk !- of local community involvement has a positive effect. Every good wish for the rest of the tour Best regards John

Well done last night. Terrific production. Sorry it wasn’t a sell-out. Terrific voices the singers and the chorus came over so well both on and off stage. Soldiers chorus still buzzing in my head! Mephistopheles did enjoy himself! Chairman South Hill Park
Been to see Faust this evening – Brilliant – Loved it Congratulations

Excellent talk – brought it all to life. I wonder why Faust is not popular today when it was in the past.

Vivaldi Gloria, St Michael and All Angels, Sandhurst March 14th 2015

Caroline was delighted to be able to join the choir and chamber orchestra of St Michael’s to provide alto solo for their Vivaldi Gloria.

Swansea City Opera – Faust March 13th 2015, Theatre Royal, Winchester

The two romantic leads in Faust are double cast, and this time Ben Kerslake and Rebecca Goulden took to the stage in Winchester, to some rather lovely reviews!

I was at the Theatre Royal Winchester on March 13th. The production was brilliantly intimate and brought the human drama out of the “show”. All human life is there with its lust, nobility and vanity. Absolutely loved the performance. The staging was cleverly uncluttered with marvellous use of light and shadow. This was the first time I’d really grasped the depth of the Faust story in itself. The music was brilliant with a disturbingly appealing (to me) Mephistopheles. I first saw the Swansea Opera performing the Pearl Fishers at the same theatre and that determined me to see their Faust. It’s now Sunday morning and I’m still buzzing with the dramatic energy. Do not miss this production even if you have to do a dodgy deal with the devil. The pleasure will be worth it. Gonna blog you guys out later today. http://www.emmacalinblogspot.co.uk Thanks for a wonderful evening.

Philip Plambeck @hampshireagent  ·  Mar 13 Excellent voices @swanseaopera @TRwinchester tonight! Brilliant evening.

We have enjoyed all your visits to Winchester since you first came, look forward to the next one! The enthusiasm of the singers & good quality of their voices produce a very good entertainment.

Good performers, especially Mephistopheles, didn’t quite get the with the music. Prefer Marlowe!! *Wrote this in the interval, changed my mind in the 2nd half, and thought the ending was brilliant!

Loved the music and the voices.

Any opera in Winchester is welcome and is usually well supported in spite of our small theatre. It was also our first chance to hear Faust and we enjoyed the performance.

Swansea City Opera – Faust February 28th 2015, Queens Theatre, Barnstaple 

Swansea City Opera’s 2015 tour of Gounod’s Faust got off to a flying start in Barnstaple.

B_pm45VWwAAK9nt Faust FAUST_270215_GH003_JPG-Val-death FAUST_270215_GH090_JPG-Soldiers

Best production yet! Excellent cast, I heard every word!!! I have enjoyed all your productions very much, but this was the best by far!

It was the first time we had been to a performance of Faust and we were impressed with the production done on a small stage and with a small cast. An intimate performance – thank you!

We all enjoyed the show very much. You have an excellent company, with splendid soloists and chorus. It was a huge pleasure to be part of the production and we all wish you the very best for the tour. Thank you for making us so welcome. I am sure there will be no shortage of volunteers, should you ever need us again!  North Devon Choral Society

A first rate show: all elements very good – singing, orchestra, staging. Using local choral society worked well. Pity the theatre was not full – performance deserved a full house.

Thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Faust at Barnstaple this weekend. It was enhanced by the pre-show talk that explained the origins of both the story and the opera as well as the characters and their behaviour. Particularly impressed by stage settings and lighting which was excellent and the costumes reflected its adaptation to a different period. A five star performance by everyone in the cast and the orchestra performance could not be faulted.

John S. Davies Singers New Year Day Concert January 1st 2015

New Year’s Day in 2015 will be heralded with the Singers’ 24th annual concert at St Davids Cathedral.

JSD NYD Concert 2

This now, annual tradition provided the listener with joyous, seasonal music including a first performance of Angelus ad Virginem, a specially written composition by Eric Jones for John S Davies and the Singers. Music also by J S Bach, Mendelssohn, Stanford, John Rutter, Karl Jenkins and others provided a broad and balanced enjoyable programme of choral music.

Simon Pearce, Cathedral organist, played and accompanied the Singers.

JSD NYD Concert

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