New Devon Opera’s 2011 production is Bizet’s Carmen

28/06/2011

The Big Society is alive and well in South West England ! New Devon Opera’s 2011 Carmen (Eds)

In these straitened times, the government is looking to all of us to contribute to charitable causes, through volunteering and partnerships. This is not a new idea. For seven years now, New Devon Opera (NDO) has been demonstrating its own version of the Big Society in action in Devon.

Operating without public subsidy (and, without any well-to-do benefactors, but steadily building up ‘in kind’ support from a whole raft of sponsors and partners), NDO can still be seen as a glowing Arts success story. It is supported and run by dozens of dedicated volunteers who see NDO’s charitable purpose as being to provide work and stage experience for professional singers, musicians, and other production creatives and to grow opera audiences in the SW. Also, every year, NDO has raised funds for its partners, the Devon Branch of Sense (the national charity that helps deafblind children and adults).

In the last three years, NDO has also seen an astonishing growth in the number of professional artists wanting to work with the company. Linda Hughes, NDO’s Chairman, said:

NDO holds four to five open application auditions each year for principal roles and community chorus. For ‘Carmen’, the company received over 450 applications from professional opera singers, of whom the audition panel had to shortlist to about 50 singers, with a separate day just to hear potential ‘Carmens’ . As one young British baritone said to Linda last week: “You need stage experience even to be considered for an opera singing role. But if you can’t get an audition, how do you ever get that experience?” We try to help.

Where are they now?

NDO is really proud of its record. A number of young singers who have sung with NDO have gone on to perform with the Royal Opera House, ENO, Deutsche Oper, Scottish Opera, WNO, etc., as well as with other companies such as Opera Holland Park, Garsington, Longborough and Grange Park.

We hope that this year’s group of creative artists will have careers that are just as successful.

Carmen on tour in Devon July 2011

Mezzo Clare Presland sings the seductive Carmen and British/Australian tenor Ben Kerslake – her soldier lover, Don José. Dr Paul Foster conducts the NDO orchestra of 20 musicians in what the press described last year as an “exceptionally musical performance“. Director/ designer is once again Martyn Harrison, whose 2010 NDO production of ‘ La Traviata’ was described as:“..a fine demonstration of elegant simplicity… Box Office : www.newdevonopera.co.uk

The Cast:

Carmen – Clare Presland
Don José –  Ben Kerslake
Escamillo – Paul Sheehan
Micaëla – Emma Morwood
Frasquita – Belinda Evans
Mércèdes -Chloé de Backer
Dancairo/Morales – Allan Smith
Remendado – Rob Amon
Zuniga –  Roderick Hunt

The Production Team

Conductor: Dr Paul Foster
Director and designer: Martyn Harrison
Choreographer: Daniela Forbes

The Performances

Wed 20 July 2011 @7.15 pm
Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Bldg, University of Plymouth, PL4 8AA
Peninsula Arts Box Office: 01752-585050; www.peninsula-arts.ac.uk

Fri & Sat 22 & 23 July 2011 @7.00 pm (in aid of Sense Devon Branch)
The Marquee, Ugbrooke Park, Chudleigh, nr Newton Abbot, S Devon, TQ13 0AD
Phoenix Box Office: 01392 667080 | www.exeterphoenix.org.uk

Tues/Wed 26 & 27 July 2011 @7.00 pm
The Flavel, Dartmouth, TQ6 9ND (piano accompanied performance: accompanist – Simon Haynes)
Flavel Box Office: 01803 839530, www.theflavel.org.uk

Sat 30 July 2011 @ 7.00 pm
St Peters Church, Budleigh Salterton, E Devon, EX9 6LR
Festival Box Office: Budleigh Tourist Information Centre: 01395 445275 www.budleigh-festival.org.uk

The Ugbrooke Park  performance will be reviewed in Seen and Heard International (Eds)

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