Sunday, 18 May 2014

National Opera Studio

 Image Credit: National Opera Studio

I had the pleasure going to the National Opera Studio event at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds.  National Opera Studio works collectively with UK's leading opera companies including Opera North who train and nurture the next generation of singers and repetiteurs.  I'm very passionate about opera so National Opera Studio offered me an opportunity to get an insight of potential leading artists who will play a big part on stage in future operatic productions.

The concerts give the singers and repetiteurs opportunities to perform in public and to work closely with the opera companies.  The evening performance was highlights from Benjamin Britten's operas.  Since I saw Opera North's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Death in Venice last year (part of Britten's Centenary of his birth), I was excited to listen to excerpts from his other operas which I've never seen live on stage.

Kathryn Harries, National Opera Studio Director, warmly welcomed us to the evening's concert and invited us to solely focus on the singers' performances more than the make shift scenes with key props, which were cleverly done, in the Howard Assembly Room's space in front of us.

Proceedings began with the opening scene from Albert Herring starring Sarah-Jane Lewis (Lady Billows); Katie Grosset (Florence); Lucy Hall (Miss Wordsworth); Iain Milne (Mayor); Ben McAteer (Vicar) and Andri Bjorn Robertsson (Superintendent Budd).  After the choice was made for the May King and the ceremony that followed it, Stephen Aviss expressed through song Albert's drunken state of mind with the conversation asides sung by Adam Marsden and Samantha Price (Sid and Kate respectively).

Familiarity of the The Pied Piper nursery rhyme being played for The Turn of The Screw, the next opera to be featured, with a scene from Act 1, The Window, sung by Jennifer Davis (Governess) and Samantha Price (Mrs Grose).  Singing hauntingly Colloquy and Soliloquy and another scene in Act 2, were by Jennifer Davis and the ghosts of Miss Jesse and Quint by Reisha Adams and Stephen Avis respectively.

In conclusion The Rape of Lucretia was movingly sung, with the scene unfolded tragically, by Katie Grosset (Lucretia), Lucy Hall (Lucia), Adam Marsden (Junius), Frederick Long (Collantinus) and Kathryn Harries (Bianca).

National Opera Studio did themselves very proud! The singing was of a very high standard and one could share their intense emotions of the characters. Singing from the heart!  We are sure of all them will land principal roles for operas staged nationally and internationally in the not too distance future!  Jac Van Steen led a very talented orchestra of Opera North and accompanied by the up and coming repetiteurs: Tim Hawken, Marek Ruszczynski; and Maya Soltan whose solid piano accompaniments made the event tick like clockwork to perfection!

A great evening out with first class entertainment by talented artists which we'll sure see at future operas and concerts! To find out more information about National Opera Studio please click onto their website.

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