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President:
Fiona Woolf DBE

Chairman:
Sue Benjamins

 
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Last Updated: 7/9/21
 

Newsletter

Summer 2021

AT LAST, LOOKING AHEAD

OPERA is open again

All precautions will be in place for everyone’s comfort and tickets are selling well, potentially to full capacity for our next performance. It is an early start 5pm for Roberto Devereux by Gaetano Donizetti, Sunday, 31 October 2021, Cadogan Hall. Tickets are on sale NOW on the Cadogan Hall website and at the Box Office (020 7730 4500, Monday – Friday, 12pm - 6pm).

The cast includes Helena Dix (Elizabetta), Christopher Turner (Roberto Devereux), Catherine Carby (Duchess of Nottingham), Julien Van Mellaerts (Duke of Nottingham), James Platt (Sir Gualtiero Raleigh) and Stephen Aviss (Lord Cecil). The conductor is Gary Matthewman with the Chelsea Opera Group Orchestra and Chorus.

Meanwhile, to keep our ideas fresh, we have appointed international conductor Gianluca Marcianò in a collaborative role as Artistic Director for two years. He will also lead two operas as Conductor. Gianluca will provide extra inspiration and challenge in the choice of repertoire and ensure we continue to look for young and developing talent in the UK and abroad.

Meanwhile sad news that the great soprano, Pauline Tinsley died in May aged 93. Pauline was renowned for her roles in Wagner, Verdi, Mozart, Donizetti and many others. She performed with COG for over 40 years in 20 productions. She sang Strauss’ Salome for Chelsea Opera Group in 1977, with Nicholas Braithwaite conducting. This led to The Guardian newspaper (15 May 2021) reporting their critic’s review of the COG production and Pauline “gloriously riding the orchestral flood, demonstrating her ideal Salome voice, lithe, penetrating and luscious”.

Bowing out after many years, Chairman of COG for seven years, Duncan Orr retired in spring 2020. Performers and supporters generously showed appreciation of his service by donating to a special fund which led to his acquisition of a carbon fibre bow. Duncan said: “I was touched that a collection had been made for a gift to mark the end of my time with COG. It was very generous, and I would have hoped to be able to thank everyone in person before now. I had been thinking about buying a carbon fibre bow and thought it would make a suitable gift of lasting value to remember my many happy years with COG. I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know the bow I chose, a Coda Marquise, and might well use it in future concerts. Thank you everyone”.

Productions 2022

Oberto by Giuseppe Verdi, 7.30pm, Sunday 3 April 2022 at Cadogan Hall. Conducted by Matthew Scott Rogers, the cast includes Anush Hovhannisyan (Leonora) and Carolyn Dobbin (Cuniza). Tickets not yet on sale.

Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph Willibad Gluck, 7.30pm, Saturday 29 October 2022, Cadogan Hall. The conductor is Gary Matthewman, the cast includes Caitlin Hulcup (Orfeo), Fflur Wyn (Eurydice) and Chloe Morgan (Amore). Tickets not yet on sale.

Chelsea Opera Group

Chelsea Opera Group (COG) plans three operas a year as concerts, in the original language with English surtitles. We have a full trained chorus and large orchestra who also play for events at Salisbury Cathedral.

For over 70 years we have had three aims. Firstly, to give opera in top venues at affordable prices, reviving unfairly-neglected works and uncommon versions of favourites. Many works revived by us are now in the repertoire of international opera houses. Secondly, we help younger players, singers and conductors by offering chances to perform. Finally, we want to grow future audiences by going out to schools and colleges.

The orchestra and chorus are amateur, but soloists and conductors are professionals. Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Sir Willard White and Sir John Tomlinson have sung with us. Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder worked with COG as their careers developed.

Our first performance, Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 1950, was led by the then unknown Colin Davis, later to become Sir Colin Davis, Music Director of the Royal Opera House and Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

We need help to continue this work. We get no public subsidy. Ticket sales can never cover costs and prices need to be affordable. Funds are raised from private donors and supportive companies through our registered charity, the Chelsea Opera Group Trust (President, Dame Fiona Woolf) and for this we are enormously grateful. If you would like to donate or join the mailing list to stay informed, please contact:

FINALLY – we still need a Digital Marketing Person to strengthen our media presence and an Orchestra Manager/Player. These are voluntary, interesting roles and rare chances to get involved with an effective amateur/professional opera company and to make your own mark on us! Please contact me if you are interested or can recommend someone.

To find out about joining our chorus please contact:

Sue Benjamins, Chairman

Published and supported by the Chelsea Opera Group Trust
Registered Charity Number 247438 Bargate, Richmond, North Yorkshire DL10 4QY

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