Welcome to the New Chamber Opera Studio Recital Series which is held on Fridays at 1.15 pm during term time in New College Ante-Chapel. The recital series has been running since 1994 and offers singers across the University and beyond the opportunity to perform a short programme in a relaxed atmosphere.
Sadly, the College is currently closed to all visitors. To join the weekly recitals by livestream, please click on the links provided below. The recordings will be available until 30 June 2021.
Week 1 30 April Theo Nesbittwith Dónal McCann Week 2 7 May Maryam Wocial with Toby Stanford Week 3 14 May John Johnstonwith Dónal McCann Week 4 21 May Karol Jozwikwith Jamie Andrews Week 5 28 May Emily Mustoewith Matthew Foster Week 6 4 June Filippo Turkheimerwith Helen Chua Week 7 11 June (Performance Postponed) Will Priorwith Will Harmer Week 8 18 June Elizabeth Vineallwith Toby Stanford
Laurence is an acclaimed conductor, harpsichordist and is the William Crotch Professor of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music; he has been Musical Director of the London Handel Festival since 1999. More information: https://www.new.ox.ac.uk/visiting-chair-opera-studies
James Conlon Humanitas Visiting Professor of Voice and Classical Music
Principal Conductor since 2006 of Los Angeles Opera and the Principal Conductor since 2016 of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Torino, Italy, James Conlon one of today’s most versatile and respected conductors. More information: https://www.new.ox.ac.uk/humanitas-visiting-professor
Haydn’s riotous comedy, La vera Costanza, The True Constant, was one of the composer’s early works for the theatre at Eszterháza, the summer palace of his patron, from 1762, Nikolaus I, Prince Esterházy. The opera was first performed on 25 April 1779 and was later revived there in 1785. The version of the work we have today is a reconstruction for the 1785 revival; a fire destroyed the theatre in late 1779, and with it were lost the performing materials and scores for some of Haydn’s operas. The composer subsequently reconstructed a number of them – including the much-loved Il mondo della luna – from sketches and from memory.
Haydn’s opening storm
sequence which begins in the overture, sees Baroness Irene, Ernesto, Lisetta,
and Villotto rescued from a shipwreck by Rosina and Masino. Count Errico, whom
she hopes to dissuade from marrying the fisherwoman Rosina. But – and not unusually
for the 18th
century – we discover that the Count has ALREADY married (and abandoned)
Rosina, who has had child by him. Neither the Count nor the Baroness and her retinue know of the
child’s existence. The Baroness is promoting Villotto as a possible husband for Rosina,
an impossibility that descends into farce, when the Count suddenly appears,
threatening to kill his rival with a pistol. And so the opera proceeds, with Ernesto
threatening Masino with a dagger, and other probable – and improbable –
Conductor: Joseph Beesley Assistant conductor: Toby Stanford Director: Michael Burden
Rosina: Aine Smith Baroness Irene: Laura Coppinger Lisetta: Maryam Wocial Count Errico: Richard Douglas Marquis Ernesto: James Gant Masino: Dominic Spencer Jolly Villotto: Filippo Turkheimer
The mythological narrative of Acis and Galatea was a subject of
continual fascination for Handel. Extant sources attest to at least three
distinct renditions, including the contemporary favourite, Acis and Galatea, which had its London premiere in 1718. A
consequence of the lasting popularity of the London version is that Handel’s
other settings have been consigned to obscurity. New Chamber Opera attempts to
correct this imbalance. For one night only, we will give a concert performance
of his 1708 setting, Aci, Galatea, e
Polifemo, in the tranquil environs of the chapel of New College. Aci brims with the confidence of a
composer cognisant of his capabilities and displays a range of operatic devices
that became central to the Handel’s mature operatic style: bravura arias are
interspersed with cantabile reflections; doleful continuo-accompanied numbers
are contrasted with full-textured, magisterial entries and exits; and textural
choice becomes as much a signifier of affect as musical content. Handel
evidently realised his precocity, choosing to use it for concert performance in
Galatea, e Polifemo offers a unique setting of the
familiar Acis narrative – one that certainly deserves both performative and critical
The 2021 Summer Opera will take place on the following dates: June 30 (Preview), July 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 2021.
The Warden’s Garden, New College, 6.30pm
Timings: 6.00pm drinks 6.30pm Act I 7.45pm Picnic Interval 9.00pm; Acts II and III 10.30pm Curtain down
We are looking forward to welcoming you to the Summer Opera for 2021. The cast, team, and orchestra are ready to go, and general preparations are underway. The nature of our outdoor performances is working to our advantage!
However, please note that due to the changing COVID19 situation, the organisation and management of the venues is subject to change. Currently, the intention is to perform in the Warden’s Garden in a new seating arrangement; perform in a large marquee if wet; and eat in the Cloisters.
Tickets for 30 June, 6 July, and 10 July can be obtained via this link:
Tickets for 7 July can obtained from the Friends of the Oxford Botanic Gardens: Mary Isaac on 0776 224 1881 or Anne James on 07756 882346.
Tickets for Old Members on 3 and 9 July: contact Jonathan Rubery in the Development Office on 01865 279337 for information on remaining availability.
Anyone who is not on the NCO electronic mailing list and who would like to be updated on the Summer Opera, should email [email protected]
Count Nastri – William Purefoy Countess Nastri, his wife – Rebecca Afonwy-Jones Dorina, An Adventuress – Sophie Kidwell Giannino, young, lover of Dorina – Dominic Bowe Don Poppone Corbelli, gentleman – Tom Kennedy Ghiandina, housemaid – Kate Semmens Falco, innkeeper – Rory Carver
Conductor – Steven Devine Director – Michael Burden New English translation by Simon Rees
The ‘She-devil’ of the opera is, of course, Dorina, the
character who provides a focus for several characters’ desires. The plot starts
out sedately enough; Giannino and Dorina are in love, but Dorina has decided
that because Giannino has no money, she will not marry him. Falco, the local
inn-keeper, suggests that they try a scam to rob the foolish
– but wealthy – old Don Poppone. But now the plot descends into farce. Poppone
believes there is treasure in his basement, and Giannino and Dorina pose as Turkish mystics to pretend to find it. When they
arrive, Poppone mistakes the pair for the Roman Count Nastri and his wife the
Countess, whom Poppone was also expecting; when the real noble couple arrives,
they are mistaken for the announced Turks. CHAOS. Musically, the most important
interesting number is the second finale, which contains the séance; the score evokes
mysterious and eerie powers.
and the librettist Carlo Goldoni, between them invented opera buffa as we know
it today. The Venetian-born composer worked both as a writer
of opera seria and then in the newly developed drama giocoso. His music, in an
attractive, mid-18th-century gallant style, was heard throughout
Europe, and although he spent periods out of Venice – including a spell at the
Italian Opera House in London – the city was the focus of his career. His music
disappeared into obscurity, partly because Napoleon’s invasion of Venice in
1797 resulted in Galuppi’s manuscripts being scattered and, in many cases, lost
or destroyed. La Diavolessa, which was premiered at the Teatro S Samuele in November 1755, however, did survive, and is among
those works revived during the 20th century.
The only opera in history to have been entirely encored at its first performance, The Secret Marriage (Il matrimonio segreto) tells the story of Carolina, secretly married to her father’s secretary Paulino. Her father is trying to marry Carolina’s sister, Elisetta, to one Count Robinson, but his plans have been derailed; the Count only wants to marry Carolina. Meanwhile, Carolina’s and Elisetta’s Aunt Fidalma has fallen in love with Paulino, providing yet another complication… the libretto, by Bertati, is based on an English comedy by George Coleman, and set by Cimarosa, one of the most prolific and capable opera composers of the late 18th century. It was first staged on 7 February 1792.
Conductor: Joseph Beesley Assistant conductor: Toby Stanford Director: Michael Burden
Carolina: Margaret Lingas Elisetta: Emily Brown Gibson Fidalma: Stephanie Franklin Paulino: Richard Douglas Count Robinson: Tom McGowan Geronimo: Chris Murphy
“Brashness and grace vie side-by-side for one evening as New Chamber Opera interpret two pillars of the High Baroque”
J.S. Bach’s virtuosic cantata for solo voice and harpsichord, ‘Amore Traditore’, and Louis Couperin’s magnificent ‘Lecons de Tenebres’ are seemingly at opposite ends of the affective spectrum. Bach’s zany cantata, consisting of 3 explosive movements of musical vitriol against the treachery of love, contrasts deeply with Couperin’s noble lament to a lost Jerusalem. But these two chamber works participate in a tradition of what can be termed as ‘intimate virtuosity’. Both the ‘Lecons’ and ‘Amore Traditore’ are scored simply – for continuo and voice – removing the powerful, connotative force of the orchestra in favour of an intimate grandeur that only continuo harpsichord and its bowed and plucked associates can evoke. The two compositions can be seen as affective complements offering two stunningly different conceptions of intimate lamentation.
The Summer Opera 3 (Preview)/6/9/10/12/13 July 2019
Conductor – Steven Devine; Director – Michael Burden
In a new English translation by Simon Rees
Cast Amarilli – Barbara Cole Walton Dorida – Indyana Schneider Eurilla – Gwendolen Martin Mirtillo – Kate Semmens Silvio – Mark Chambers Trieno – Patrick Keefe
The Evening’s Events 6.00pm: Drink in the Cloisters 6.30pm: Opera Part I, The Warden’s Garden Picnic Interval in the Cloisters (approximately 90 minutes) 9.00pm: Opera Part II, The Warden’s Garden 10.00pm: Curtain
Amarilli, a shepherdess, in love with Mirtillo Dorinda, a shepherdess, in love with Silvio Eurilla, a shepherdess, in love with Mirtillo Mirtillo, a shepherd, in love with Amarilli
Silvio, a hunter, in love with hunting, and eventually, with Dorinda
Tirenio, a High Priest of Diana
Set in Arcadia, the background to the plot of Handel’s pastoral opera Il pastor fido is that Diana, virgin huntress goddess, has become displeased
with Arcadia and has let it be known that only through the marriage of a couple
descended from heavenly ancestors, one of whom will be ‘a faithful shepherd,’
will her wrath be appeased; Silvio and Amarilli are designated the ‘happy
couple,’ to everyone’s consternation. The three shepherdesses spend the
opera pursuing the objects of their desire. Amarilli is in love with Mirtillo
(who loves her in return) but is destined for Silvio. Eurilla is also in love
with Mirtillo (who does not return her love), and tries to undermine Amarilli.
Dorinda in is love with Silvio (who does not return her love until he almost
kills her with a spear while hunting).
The opera was Handel’s second one for London; the first, Rinaldo, had been a brilliant success,
and the audience was taken aback at this short and understated work. It
achieved only a few performances, but it was twice revived in 1734 first with
added choruses, and then with added dances, it was more popular, achieving a
total of some 14 performances. The two versions represent two phases of
Handel’s opera career; the first, his early years in the capital when both he
and Italian opera were still finding their feet in the city, and the second,
his years as an opera promoter, when he faced competition from the Opera of the
Nobility, competition which ultimately damaged the staging of Italian opera in
London. Il pastor fido has been
performed in modern times on numerous occasions, with the 1734 version first
performed in 1948 at Göttingen, and the 1712 version in 1971 in Unicorn
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