Presenting fully staged grand opera, sung in English
At a presentation in Plymouth on 20th May 2023, Bristol opera was awarded the Noda Gerry Branton Award for Best Operatic Production in the South-west – joint winners with Bath Opera. This was our first production after the Covid pandemic, and we are very proud to have fought hard to ensure we went back on the stage so soon after such a challenging period for the Arts and Opera in particular. More reason, to celebrate our work and commitment to fully staged opera at our Centenary Concert on June 24th.
We are pleased to announce that the professional baritone, Andrew Shore – and Bristol Opera’s President – has agreed to perform in the premiere of our commissioned work and throughout the evening with his own unique voice. Andrew’s reputation is an international one having performed at most of the world’s major opera houses including leading roles at ENO, Glyndebourne, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, and the New York Met whilst remaining loyal to his alma mater grassroots in Bristol where he began his music studies at the University.
We are delighted to see the return of Rebecca to our company for this world premiere. Her 2017 performance in Bristol Opera’s production of Carmen was a recent and intoxicating highlight showing her range and passion for opera.
Mezzo-soprano Rebecca holds a Masters in Music with Distinction from the Royal Northern College of Music, UK. She lives in Bristol where she works full time as a mezzo-soprano and teaches singing.
Rebecca’s operatic roles include Delilah in Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah, Geneviève in Debussy’s Pélleas et Mélisande, Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart and Filipyvena in Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky. An active recitalist, Rebecca has given many well received song recitals in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Europe and the UK. She has a deep love for chamber music, performing regularly in festivals and recitals around the UK. Rebecca’s international career also takes her to Oratorio as an alto soloist.
We are delighted to welcome the return of Guy to Bristol Opera where he started his opera singing career at the age of 16.
Guy is now Artistic Director & CEO of Waterperry Opera Festival(2017-): a unique and innovative opera festival hosted at the beautiful Waterperry House & Gardens in Oxfordshire.
Alongside management, Guy Withers is an experienced deviser, director and theatre-maker, with work focusing on collaborative interdisciplinary practices within opera, music-theatre and puppetry. Directing credits for Waterperry Opera Festival include; ‘Peter Rabbit’s Musical Adventure’ (2018/19), ‘Cosi fan tutte’ (2020), ‘Peter and the Wolf’ (2021/22), and ‘The Diary of One Who Disappeared’ (2022). Both ‘Peter Rabbit’ and ‘Peter and the Wolf’ have toured nationally to The Lichfield Festival, The Newbury Spring Festival and Opera Holland Park. As a theatre-maker and deviser he has worked alongside Simon McBurney for Complicite/Aix-en-Provence Festival, He is heavily involved in developing work for young audiences, including; devising ‘Paradise Planet’ (2018) with Hanbury & Groves for English Touring Opera, devising and performing ‘The Rattler’ (2016) for Mahogany Opera Group, devising and performing ’16 Singers’ (2015) for Dance Umbrella/Bath Theatre Royal.
We are pleased to see the return of Sophie to Bristol Opera after her many seminal performances. Her recent interpretation of Adina in our post lockdown 2022 production of Elixir of Love was a memorable highlight.
Born in Germany, Sophie Kirk-Harris was a founding member of the Stuttgart Youth Opera, and accepted a place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
During her time at the College, Sophie travelled to Italy to perform William Walton’s Façade for the composer’s widow, Lady Susanna Walton, in her home on Ischia. Sophie has regularly appeared as a soloist at the Hoddinott Hall and St David’s Hall with the BBC National Chorus of Wales and recorded Mansel Thomas’ Requiem for Radio 3. Operatic roles include Antonia (Tales of Hoffman), Senta (The Flying Dutchman), Freya (Das Rheingold), Serafina (Il Campanello di Notte), Michaela (Carmen), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte), Cherubino (Marriage of Figaro), Alice Ford (Falstaff) Lisa (La Sonnambula) and Cio Cio San (Madame Butterfly).
In November 2017, Sophie directed her first opera “Puss in Boots” for a project aimed to make opera more accessible to children. Since then she has co-founded Opera Boots.
The photograph above is of Anne Harriet Fish about whom we are presenting a world premiere commissioned short opera by Joel Baldwin. Anne Fish (1890-1964) was an illustrator for publications such as Tatler, Vogue and Vanity Fair, using her unique style to collaborate with female writers such as Olivia Maitland-Davidson and Sybil Cookson (under the pseudonym Sydney Tremayne) in the Jazz era of the 1920’s. In 1922 Fish did the lavish illustrations for the translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1048 – 1131) the Persian mathemetician, astronomer, philosopher and poet rendered into English verse by Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883).
Bristol Opera is looking forward to our midsummer Centenary Concert to celebrate our 100th Anniversary on Saturday 24th June under the wings of Concorde at the Aerospace Museum.
We look forward to welcoming you aboard Concorde from 6.45pm on the day as you make your way through the plane to your seats below!
More than Fish …
The evening will include a semi-staged production of ‘Fish’ alongside an evening of Opera favourites drawn from Bristol Opera’s 10 decades of work and dedication to this art form. There is something here for everyone – the challenge of the new and the comfort of the familiar!
Tickets are £25 Premium seats and £20 Standard seats (£15 for children and students)