Opera in Downend
What it is: Each session is a presentation with CD, or where possible DVD, of an opera, opera history or perhaps the works of a composer, with short musical illustrations and discussion on the work(s).
When it is: Generally fortnightly on Wednesdays 10 am coffee (and very nice biscuits) for prompt 10.30 start and we finish by noon.
Where it is: Castle Suite, Badminton Gardens, Beaufort Rd, Downend BS16 6UE
We look at a wide range of opera from late 18th to early 20th century. The operas customarily chosen are often unfashionable or ones which for reasons of practicality such as requiring six tenors, having parts too risky to perform live, or impractical changes of scenery, are not often found in the repertoire of opera companies in the UK - but then we don't have to look at the box office take. However, the operas are always interesting and with attractive music and most of us learn something each time. The important thing is that we enjoy what we do.
For further information or to contact the Group Convenor, just click on the pigeon 'send a message' link, see the latest Annual Bulletin or Newsletter, or send an email to the Groups Co-ordinator via the Contact Us page.
Just turn up. Easy access. Parking nearby. 2 mins to nearest bus stop.
|Dates for your Diary|
|Wed Dec 18th||FRANZ LEHAR - DER ZAREWITSCH - A colourful, nostalgia-filled film-treatment of Lehar's Russian operetta about the tsar's melancholy son who falls hopelessly in love with a beautiful dancer. "Flawless ... a beautifully sung performance"|
|Wed Jan 8th 2020||GAETANO DONIZETTI - ROBERTO DEVEREUX: a most dramatic piece to be shown in two very contrasting DVDs; a standard festival production from Bologna and a superb modern version from Zurich Opera with Edita Gruberova; moving the action from the court of Elizabeth Tudor to that of Margaret Thatcher.|
|Wed Feb 5th 2020||DANIEL AUBER - MANON LESCAUT - the 'shocking' autobiographical story of the Abbé Prevost. It was first used by Balfe in a barely recognisable, cleaned-up version suitable for family viewing and called 'The Maid of Artois'; then of course later by Massenet and Puccini. This is a traditional production from the Theatre Imperial de Compiègne.|
|Wed Feb 19th 2020||JULES MASSENET - MANON - The other French version of the Abbé Prevost's interesting life, and possibly Massenet's finest work in a traditional production from Gran Teatro del Liceu with Natalie Dessay, Rolando Villazón and Samuel Ramey: Director David McVicar|
|Wed Mar 4th 2020||VINCENZO BELLINI - I PURITANI - his last and finest work written for the Théatre Italien in Paris, based on Scott's novel 'Old Mortality', known in Italy for some reason as 'I Puritani di Scozia' despite being set very firmly in Plymouth. This is a traditional production from the Gran Theatro del Liceu with Edita Gruberova, José Bros and Carlos Alvarez.|
|Wed Mar 18th 2020||GIOACHINO ROSSINI - LA GAZZA LADRA (The Thieving Magpie) - most famous for its overture. The maestro described it as 'bellissimo' and it was well received around Europe, though not without reservation. However, it still undoubtedly deserves a place in the repertory. Ilena Cotrubas and Carlos Feller star in this production from Cologne Opera.|
|Wed Apr 15th 2020||GIACOMO PUCCINI - MADAMA BUTTERFLY - This opera originally met with derision but now undoubtedly a great favourite, with its theme of love and heartbreak and a plethora of lively melodies. A spectacular production from the Arena di Verona with Raina Kabalvanska, Nazzareno Antinori and Eleonra Jankovic.|
|Wed Apr 29th 2020||GIUSEPPE VERDI - GIOVANNA D'ARCO (Joan of Arc but nothing to do with GB Shaw's)- Early Verdi, when he was considered 'noisy' - but what a noise! Renato Bruson and Susan Dunn in this Bologna production. "Certainly the success of this production is due to (producer) Werner Herzog ... a marvellous and extraordinary production.."|