Swansea City Opera tour a fully produced opera each year – in 2018 we are touring Barber of Seville, and we have performances scheduled across the UK, including Mansfield, 25/03/2018.
Each year, we offer the opportunity for a local choir to join us to support our professional cast.
The 2018 production of Barber of Seville by Rossini will be sung in English in our own translation and set in late 18th Century Spain and our design features fantastical and exaggerated costumes highlighting the humour of the opera. This will be a revival of the production originally staged in 2011 and will feature a full professional cast and orchestra of 10 musicians.
The choir will be involved in:
the beginning as musicians with Fiorello. Although all the choruses are only written for men we will rewrite the parts for SATB and costume the choir in masks and domino costumes so the ladies can be involved as well. Because of restrictions on space on the set, we anticipate up to 16 members of the choir will be on stage in this scene and the remainder will sing off stage. It would be an advantage if the choir members could provide an old instrument to pretend to play!
the Finale at the end of Act I as policemen and general crowd of both sexes, and the parts will be rewritten for SATB.
at the very end of the opera, again as a crowd of both sexes and the parts will be rewritten for SATB.
We anticipate having a maximum of 20 choir members on stage in the Finale of Act 1 and the end of the opera, with the facility for any additional choir members to sing off stage. All costumes will be provided – but we will ask you to provide your own footwear.
We will provide the translation and music, and will post sound clips on Soundcloud for you to listen to and learn from. Once again, we will offer 2 supported rehearsals nearer the date with our Musical and Choir Directors, along with a final rehearsal in the afternoon of the performance date.
I would be delighted if at this stage, you would consider supporting us. If so and you are able to help us with more than one performance, please do let us know – it would be lovely if all the hard work put in could be expressed on more than one occasion. I have attached the tour schedule for your information.
We would appreciate a response either way as it is a condition of our Arts Council England funding that we update date them with those choirs taking part.
At the beginning of June 2017, a large contingent of singers from the East Midlands, including a dozen members of BDCS, set off for France with the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra to perform the Verdi Requiem in Chartres Cathedral and the Madeleine in Paris.
We were joined by singers from a French and a German choir, making it a truly international experience. It was a fantastic privilege to sing one of the greatest romantic works in the choral repertoire in such legendary places. We were also blessed with four wonderful soloists (Sarah Baillie, Sandra Klara Januszewska, Richard Roddis and Geoff Williams) and the charismatic leadership of Derek Williams, Musical Director of the NSO, to spur us on.
The concerts were well publicised in advance and attracted large, appreciative audiences in both venues. We were even treated to a standing ovation! A reception in a Paris restaurant provided a fitting, celebratory finale before the long trip back home. Much fun was had and many friendships made along the way, so much so that a visit to Prague is contemplated in two years’ time. The trip was a great example of how choral singing crosses divides and expands horizons, personally and musically.
The photographs are of Chartres Cathedral interior and exterior with son et lumière, and The Madeleine, Paris.
In the autumn Bingham Choral Society will launch a bursary and prize, to be awarded to an outstanding candidate aged 23 or under, who seeks to make a career in classical music. The bursary, donated by our Patron Mr. John Beaumont and his wife Barbara, will be worth £500. The winner will be expected to use the bursary money to advance their musical education. The prize will be the opportunity to take part in one of the Choir’s future concerts.
The competition for the bursary and prize is open to any musician (singer or instrumentalist) normally resident in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire or Rutland. Applications will be invited in the early autumn, with a shortlist announced in November. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to give a short recital at the public final, to be held in Bingham Parish Church on Saturday January 20th, 2018. The judging panel will include Angela Kay MBE, and Guy Turner, Musical Director of the Bingham Choir.
Full details, including information on how to enter, will be available shortly on this website. There will be a non-refundable entry fee of £10.
John Rutter, the legendary composer and conductor of choral music, came to lead a Singing Day at The Minster School, Southwell, on Saturday at the invitation of the Bingham and District Choral Society. Judith Unell, Publicity Officer for the choir, says, ‘We just couldn’t believe our luck when John agreed to do this for us because he has such an incredibly busy schedule of international commitments. We feel very honoured’ The Singing Day was widely advertised and quickly sold out with more than 300 people attending. Four young members of the Minster Girls’ Choir helped ensure that things ran smoothly on the day and also took the opportunity to pose for a photo with John.
His exuberant and warm personality enabled everyone to relax and experience the joy of singing, but also to benefit from his immense knowledge of vocal technique. There were plenty of highly entertaining anecdotes too, drawn from his rich musical career. The choice of musical pieces ranged from the poignant and delicate ‘Who is Silvia’ by British composer George Shearing to the storming adaptation by John himself of `When the Saints go Marching In’ at the end of an uplifting, entertaining and unforgettable day.
“It was a real privilege to have the chance to sing with John Rutter; he is a superb facilitator and raconteur as well as an outstanding musician, and he is so right that people rarely get the chance just to sing good music, not prepare for a performance! His suggestions for improvement were so well paced and mostly limited to the morning when we could all expect to be fresher. And the Hallelujah chorus after lunch is the best solution I’ve come across to what I have usually heard described as ‘the graveyard slot’!”
“I am dropping you a note to say thank you to you and to everyone in the Bingham Choral Society for organising the wonderful day we all enjoyed so much last Saturday. I have sung many Rutter works over the years including his Gloria and Requiem but had never had the opportunity to experience working with him or to be able to thank him for the joy he has given. Sadly, my husband died at the end of July last year and I chose The Lord Bless You and Keep You as the choir anthem for his funeral, it was very special and very poignant when we sang it on Saturday.”
“Just a note to say thank you to all concerned for the John Rutter singing day on Saturday. It was a wonderful day when if we weren’t singing we were smiling. So uplifting!
The whole choir was very sad to hear of Tony Goldstone’s death, on January 2nd. Tony and his wife and duettist partner Caroline Clemmow had become our firm friends and musical collaborators over a number of years, and our thoughts and sympathies go out to Caroline.
Anthony Goldstone was born in Liverpool in 1944. His family moved to Manchester where he attended Manchester Grammar School. He studied piano at the Royal Manchester School of Music, and continued with Maria Curcio, who had been a pupil of the legendary Artur Schnabel. Tony enjoyed early success, appearing at the Last Night of the Proms in 1976, playing an early Britten work for left hand piano and orchestra. After the concert was broadcast, the composer wrote to him, ‘Thank you most sincerely for that brilliant performance of my Diversions.’
Tony and Caroline began playing together in 1984, quickly having great success, and they married in 1989. There is a surprisingly large repertoire of music, better known in other formats, which has been arranged for either piano duet or two pianos. Tony added extensively to this by making many of his own arrangements. Their discography includes over twenty CDs, with music by a full range of composers from Mozart to the present day. Last December they issued a disc of Vaughan Williams arrangements, including his Symphony No. 5 and the Tallis Fantasia, that is especially recommended (Albion Records ALBCD031).
Tony and Caroline lived near Scunthorpe, and it was through Neville Ward’s work with Scunthorpe Choral Society that they came to the notice of the Bingham Choir. In 2006 they played with us in a concert of music by John Rutter, Bob Chilcott and George Gershwin, with Neville conducting. We repeated that programme in autumn 2015, when it became the first concert that Guy Turner conducted on becoming our Musical Director in succession to Neville. It was a great success and the joy given to the audience by some additional duets that Caroline and Tony played was duly noted. We therefore invited them to give us a complete concert of duets.
That concert took place last September, before a packed audience in Bingham Church. One of the highlights of a spellbinding evening was the second half wholly devoted to Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the animals, with the poems of John Lithgow narrated by Guy Turner. Sadly, that wonderful concert was to be one of Tony Goldstone’s last public performances.
The Choir promoted a concert by the acclaimed duettists Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow pictured left at the piano. A packed Bingham Parish Church heard a programme which in the first half had music by Schubert: Marche Militaire No. 1 and variations from the Trout Quintet, Rimsky-Korsakov: Scherezade and Vincent Youmans: Tea for two. The second half was devoted to Tony Goldstone’s own arrangement for piano duet of Saint Saens’ Carnival of the animals. Poems written to accompany the work by American actor John Lithgow were performed by Guy Turner, our Musical Director (pictured on the right.) Many people feel that Lithgow’s poems are better than those written by Ogden Nash. As an encore, Tony and Caroline played a short work by English composer Eric Thiman (1900 – 1975), whose archive is held at Southwell Minster and administrated by Guy Turner.
An extensive range of discs by the Goldstone-Clemmow duo can be found at (Link) and their future concerts will include a performance of Brahms’ German Requiem with the Choir.
With about forty CDs to their credit and a busy concert schedule stretching back more than thirty years, the British piano duo Goldstone and Clemmow is firmly established as a leading force. Described by Gramophone as ‘a dazzling husband and wife team’, by International Record Review as ‘a British institution in the best sense of the word’, and by The Herald, Glasgow, as ‘the UK’s pre-eminent two-piano team’, internationally known artists Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow formed their duo in 1984 and married in 1989.
Their extremely diverse activities in two-piano and piano-duet recitals and double concertos, taking in major festivals, have sent them all over the British Isles as well as to Europe, the Middle East and several times to the U.S.A., where they have received standing ovations and such press accolades as ‘revelations such as this are rare in the concert hall these days’ (Charleston Post and Courier). In their refreshingly presented concerts they mix famous masterpieces and fascinating rarities, which they frequently unearth themselves, into absorbing and hugely entertaining programmes; their numerous B.B.C. broadcasts have often included first hearings of unjustly neglected works, and their equally enterprising and acclaimed commercial recordings include many world premières.
Having presented the complete duets of Mozart for the bicentenary, they decided to accept the much greater challenge of performing the vast quantity of music written by Schubert specifically for four hands at one piano. This they have repeated several times in mammoth seven-concert cycles, probably a world first in their completeness (including works not found in the collected edition) and original recital format. The Musical Times wrote of this venture: ‘The Goldstone/Clemmow performances invited one superlative after another.’
The complete cycle (as a rare bonus including as encores Schumann’s eight Schubert- inspired Polonaises) was recorded on seven CDs, ‘haunted with the spirit of Schubert’ – Luister, The Netherlands.