- We are actively seeking new chorus members – just turn up at Clyde Hall, Clyde Road, Croydon CR0 6SZ on a rehearsal night if you want to be involved, or contact the Company’s Chorus Administrator, Mark Edwards. If possible please include details of your singing/musical/stage experience.
- We have added some photographs from the A Midsummer Night's Dream dress rehearsal at the Minack theatre taken by Lynn Batten and another review by Simon Ames of the Surrey Advertiser.
- Our last production was A Midsummer Night's Dream by Benjamin Britten. See Opera Now for an interview about it with our Freda Clark.
- WE now have a channel on YouTube, and we have joined instagram with handle: surreyopera.
- The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall watched us perform A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Minack theatre, and we have a review there.
- We have added a few performance photographs to our A Midsummer Night's Dream page.
- Sad news: Vena Reed and Charles Thomas, both devoted life members of Surrey Opera, have passed away.
- Jonathan Butcher talked about George Hooper and his paintings from Croydon Radio. Listen:
- See photographs from Camelot taken at the Stag, Sevenoaks by Peter Marr.
- All the "Past Productions" pages include a wonderful gallery of photographs.
- Surrey Opera acknowledged with sadness the passing of our Patron Sir Colin Davis, but we were very proud to announce that Sir John Tomlinson, CBE, agreed to become our new Patron. Sir John was, of course, Patron of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Festival in 2012, and we were honoured that he came to a performance of Thelma with his wife and friends.
- Read Jonathan Butcher's speech at the unveiling of a new plaque commemorating Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (on 30th December 2012).
- We have now added a little gallery of photos (taken by Peter Marr) from our production of Thelma
Enjoy a magical evening of opera with Shakespeare's words enhanced by Britten's subtly atmospheric music. Find yourself sliding between the worlds of Faerie, of star-crossed lovers and of the village thespians. Revel in the power of Britten's alternately mystical, passionate, hilarious and joyous music, performed by Surrey Opera's professional cast and orchestra, in the composer's original and complete scoring.
Puccini’s TOSCA was first performed at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14th January 1890 and is arguably one of the top ten most popular operas of all time. Its drama and sheer musical lyricism are compelling – so much so that it has inspired countless leading opera singers to give thrilling and unforgettable performances, Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi to name just two.
Tosca, premiered at a time of unrest in Rome, had its first performance delayed for a day for fear of disturbances. But, despite this and indifferent reviews from the critics, the opera was an immediate success with the public and has remained so ever since. Its numerous popular arias are often heard outside of the opera house.
The power of Puccini’s score and the inventiveness of his orchestration are astonishing and the dramatic force of Tosca and its characters continues to fascinate both performers and audiences alike.
Surrey Opera, who have recently received much praise for their production of Cornish composer George Lloyd’s opera Iernin, will bring a new production of Tosca (sung in English) to Minack – possibly a perfect setting for this dramatic and gripping work! Jonathan Butcher directs and conducts.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor lived here – at 6 St. Leonards Road, formally known as Aldwick, for the last few years of his all too short life. He and his family had apparently moved here from their previous home, Hillcrest, on the London Road in Norbury, because it was too noisy for his composing. Incidentally – it was at Hillcrest, now demolished, that SC-T composed Thelma, his only large-scale opera of which we, Surrey Opera, gave the World Première at the start of this, the Centenary year of his death.
It is said that Aldwick was C-T’s favourite house as it was quiet and, more or less, in the country. It’s hard to believe this now, but back then there was a good number of fields about including I suspect one immediately behind the house, where the Parish Church Junior School now stands.
There were no extra houses squeezed in here and there, in fact you were in the country. SC-T would take walks into the lanes around here, reading poetry and visiting the villages of Beddington and the like. Yes – rural Croydon.
An Opera in Three Acts
Music by George Lloyd 1913–1998
Libretto by William A. C. Lloyd
Not staged since its première in 1934 and short London run in 1935, George Lloyd's Iernin tells the story of a maiden turned to stone by puritanical priests, only to reawaken hundreds of years later and ensnare the heart of a betrothed Cornish nobleman. This is set against the backdrop of a soon to be occupied Cornwall and the struggle of its leader and people to retain their independence from the Saxon overlords. It is a story about the defence of the weak and society's fear of change, but above all our fear of and fascination with the unknown. Written during the rise of German National Socialism and alongside the abdication of Edward VIII, the story also strikes some fortuitous chords with one of the most dramatic periods in British history, a period which would change George Lloyd's life forever.
Surrey Opera now brings a fully staged Centenary production of Iernin to Croydon, and then home to Cornwall, where it was conceived and first performed. Written when the Cornish composer was still in his teens, Iernin is based on a Celtic legend inspired by the Nine Maidens stone circle near Penzance. Lloyd’s music dramatically evokes the mystical world of Iernin as well as the very human struggle of love and loyalty versus desire. This new production will be performed using Lloyd’s original scoring.
Surrey Opera presented a brand new production of Johann Strauss’s famous operetta Die Fledermaus, with a contemporary twist devised by Director Alexander Hargreaves and English National Opera translation by Leonard Hancock and David Pountney.
Having enjoyed a hilarious round of mistaken identities, flirtations at a masked ball amidst a superbly decorative set designed by Jill Wilson, plus Strauss’s brilliant melodies performed by professional soloists and instrumental ensemble with the Surrey Opera Chorus conducted by Jonathan Butcher. You would have been sure of an evening/afternoon of pure entertainment, bubbling with sparkling comedy like the ever-flowing champagne!
With only a score and a few scribed margin notes for guidance, Christopher Cowell (Director) and Bridget Kimak (Designer) have had the delight of defining the focus and look of the new Opera.
The centre of the plot is occupied by the Maelstrom – a Viking word, coined to describe the treacherous whirlpool which lies between the Norwegian mainland and the Lofoten Islands. The word was well known to the Victorian public, following the publication of Edgar Allen Poe's poem “A descent into the Maelstrom”.
Inspired by the mystical world of the Norwegian artist Odd Nerdrum, Bridget Kimak's set consists of a series of simple lines suggesting the constant swirling of water, around and in which characters move. The costumes have also been conceived in a visionary style because, apart from a few archaeological remains, nobody really knows how the Vikings actually dressed.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor had obviously done some research about the Viking culture and myths before he wrote the Opera. However, there are a few incongruous details, like the devil Djaevelen sniffing snuff, which has been retained in a desire to remain faithful to the original text.