Beautiful venues host candle-lit opera celebration

A costumed and candle-lit celebration of opera in venues including beautiful historic churches marks the fact that Opera South East is 35 years old this year,

Sunday, 21st October 2018, 2:46 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st October 2018, 2:55 pm
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Opera South East, formerly Hastings Opera, is presenting a series of concerts at Hastings, Winchelsea and Bexhill which celebrate the ‘Birth of Opera’.

The company is unique in East Sussex as being the only opera company who performs with an orchestra, chorus, engages paid professional soloists and directors, involves young people and sings in English.

The Baroque period (1600-1750) saw the rise of a new art form called “opera”; elaborate pieces designed for society events with ballets, tableaux and singing, telling tales of legendary gods and historical figures.

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Guest singers Lucy Ashton, Marina Ivanova, Oscar Smith and John Twitchen join Opera South East chorus to provide an unforgettable Baroque experience with scenes and arias from the immortal tale of ‘Orpheus’, the historical ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘Poppea’ and ‘Dido and Aeneas’ to the mortal life of ‘Beggar’s Opera’ and comedic ‘Pimpinone’ with the glorious music of Monteverdi, Purcell, Handel, Telemann and John Gay.

Lucy and Marina are not new to Opera South East having played Pamina and Papagena in last years stunning production of ‘The Magic Flute.

John is a Hastings based operatic and choral tenor. He studied music at Chichester University . He discovered opera at age 17 with Glyndebourne Youth Opera where he sang for three years alongside his studies in the East Sussex Academy of Music in Lewes.

John moved to London in 2012 where he studied on the Foundation course in the London College of Music after he moved to Chichester and joined the Dorset Opera Summer School chorus for three consecutive years.

John now resides in Hastings and regularly works with Jenny Miller in Barefoot Opera where he has most recently reprised his role of El Remendado in Carmen. John will be auditioning this year for an MMus in Opera in the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Oscar is a Bass-Baritone who studied Vocal Performance at Chichester University. After graduating, Oscar spent a year specialising in Extended Vocal Techniques, teaching himself to Overtone sing, many forms of throat singing and to yodel.

Since moving to St Leonards last year, Oscar has been involved in many theatre productions as a composer, actor, musical director, Vocalist, accordionist and choral director having most recently performing the role of Dancairo and percussionist in Bizet’s Carmen with Barefoot Opera. Upcoming events include Danilo in the Merry Widow with Battle Light Opera Group as well as joining Mary-Jess on her 2018 Winter tour.

Lucy has more recently been thrilling audiences in Barefoot Opera’s productions of La Boheme and Carmen.

The evening will be accompanied by Baroque Strings and the Fipple Consort, a wonderful mix of strings and recorders. With costumes and candlelight it’s sure to be an atmospheric evening of music and drama.

The Musical Director is Kenneth Roberts and Artistic Director is Karen McInally

Opera South East will be bringing Verdi’s much loved La Traviata to the White Rock Theatre in April 2019.

Concerts take place on Tuesday October 23rd at St Thomas the Martyr Church, Winchelsea 7.30pm; St Clements Church, Hastings, on Saturday October 27 at 7.30pm and at the The Manor Barn, Bexhill (matinee) on Sunday October 28 at 3pm

Tickets are £15 - available on the door or in advance from Wincelsea Farm Kitchen, Hastings Tourist Information Centre, Muriel Mattewrs House, on the seafront and Second Spin Record nin Sackville Road, Bexhill.