Opera lovers set to head to St Leonards

Purcell Double Bill from Barefoot Opera. Photo by Chris Parker
Purcell Double Bill from Barefoot Opera. Photo by Chris Parker

ST LEONARDS will be turned into an opera lover’s paradise next Sunday (July 13).

Organisers of the annual St Leonards Festival, which starts on Friday (July 11), are laying on the Opera Garden Party for residents and visitors.

Audiences are encouraged to dress up, bring a picnic and relax as Warrior Gardens will fill with five hours of live music.

Featuring Barefoot Opera, Opera South East, Soprano Suzy Appleyard and baritone George Humphries, next Sunday’s programme includes classic arias, duets, chorus numbers and all-time opera favourites from Carmen, The Beggars Opera, The Pearl Fishers and more.

In between opera, master drummer Nana Tsiboe will provide a shift in mood.

Visitors can also enjoy a cool Pimms from the bar and browse the craft market, nature and garden zone. For youngsters, there is live storytelling.

Party-goers will be wowed by breath-taking live opera-themed performances from Osadia Hair Art, flying in to St Leonards from Barcelona to transform willing spectators into walking sculptures.

The Opera Garden Party costs £12 and is free for under 16s. Event organiser, Mandy Curtis, from events company 18 Hours, said: “Five hours of live opera in central St Leonards for just £12 is a massive achievement. This is a true summertime treat for opera virgins and aficionados and will show that opera is for everyone, not just ‘posh’ people!”

Jan McTaggart, from the Central St Leonards Town Team, said: “This opera event is a new opportunity for St Leonards residents and visitors to enjoy our fantastic town.

“Funds raised from the Opera Day will pay for the free family day, which has received sponsorship and support from an array of local businesses including Hastings Borough Council, Amicus Horizon, Family Mosaic, Pissarro’s, The Italian Way, Phoenix and Plum, The St Leonard, The Love Café, The Railway Pub, Peridot Jewellers, Moose’s Kitchen, The Horse and Groom, Café Fortes, Who’s Wearing What, Fast Print, Kave Gallery, Barraclough and Stiles, Adams and Jarrett, SHOP, Fastprint and Co-op.”

Tickets for the Opera Garden Party are available online at www.18hours.org.uk, from SHOP, in Norman Road, Moose’s Kitchen, in Kings Road, Who’s Wearing What, in London Road and the Tourist Information Centre. Organisers are giving away three pairs of tickets, worth £24 a pair, for the event. All entrants have to do is answer the following question: Where does Carmen work in Bizet’s opera?

Email your answer to office@18hours.org.uk.