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New Chamber Opera @ Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2022

Presents

A Coffin, A Confession, and A Cautionary Tale

Three Pieces of Music Theatre

The Cockpit
Wednesday 31 August 2022
20:20-21:20

Tickets: https://www.thecockpit.org.uk/show/a_coffin_a_confession_and_a_cautionary_tale

A Coffin

Alasdair Nicolson, text from Death Bed by Craig Raine

Alasdair Nicolson

Alasdair Nicolson was born in Inverness and brought up on the Isle of Skye and the Black Isle. He studied at Edinburgh University and later became Shaw McFie Lang Fellow there working in composition and music theatre. Whilst his first commissions came immediately after he finished his studies, he began his career by combining composition with work in theatre and opera as musical director, conductor and repetiteur. It was in the late 80s and early 90s that he came to wider attention as winner of the IBM Composers’ Prize and, following this success, he received commissions from the UK and abroad. Nicolson has gone on to work with some of the world’s best orchestras, ensembles, and soloists. His music is widely performed and broadcast and it has won critical acclaim for its clarity, craftsmanship and individuality. He is now regarded as one of Scotland’s foremost composers. As well as his compositional work Alasdair has been involved with many organisations as a creative producer. He is currently Artistic Director of the St Magnus International Festival and Director of the St Magnus Composers’ Course as well as being Artistic Director of his own ensemble The Assembly Project.  He is currently working as a curator for one of SCOT:lands for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.   Previously he has worked as Artistic Director of Bath International Music Festival, Sound Inventors, Northlands Festival and Platform Festival.

Last Things

Last Things was commissioned by New Chamber Opera for its Patron’s Concert in October 1993. The words are by Craig Raine and are taken by the poet from his poem Death Bed. This performance is the work’s (somewhat belated) London premiere. Written for solo countertenor and piano, the idea of the piece is to involve the singers and the instrument in the telling of the tale.

Karol Jozwick – Countertenor

Karol Jozwik is currently studying at New College, Oxford where he sings with New College Choir. He began his career as a treble in the Schola Cantorum of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, where he was able to feature in the children’s chorus of opera productions at the ROH and ENO. During his time in the choir, he also had many solo opportunities with professional orchestras; after his transition to countertenor, these included Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem. He then took a gap year, taking up a one-year choral scholarship post at Portsmouth Cathedral, notably playing the character of Isaac in a performance of Britten’s Canticle II.

During his time at Oxford, Karol has been a member of the Oxford Schola Cantorum and a choral scholar in Oxford Bach Soloists. He is taught by Bronwen Mills, has taken part in masterclasses with Michael Chance, Laurence Cummings, and Roderick Williams, and is receiving vocal coaching from countertenor Iestyn Davies. He is excited to expand his horizons into the world of opera, with some upcoming productions with New Chamber Opera.

Dónal McCann – Piano

Dónal McCann, who is originally from Belfast, read music at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was an academic and organ scholar. At King’s, he accompanied the choir in daily chapel services, as well as in recordings, broadcasts and extensive tours, including to America and Australia. Prior to this, Dónal was the Andrew Lloyd Webber Scholar at Eton College, where he achieved the FRCO with the Limpus Prize, subsequently being nominated for the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. The following year he won the inaugural Dame Gillian Weir Medal at the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition. Dónal studied piano at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, and organ with Professor Gerard Gillen at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral. He has performed as a soloist with the Ulster Orchestra and the Academy of Ancient Music and has given many recitals in the UK and abroad. 


A Cautionary Tale

Samuel Hogarth, text after Chekhov

Samuel Hogarth

Samuel Hogarth, who came up to New College in 2001 to read music, went on to be director of music at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and thence to the National Opera Studio repetiteurs course, while teaching at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department. Samuel has worked as a repetiteur and conductor at Oper Köln, at the Hamburg Staatsoper, and since 2014, has been Kapellmeister (staff conductor) at the Staatstheater Mainz, where he has conducted a range of opera and concert repertoire including La Bohème, La Traviata, RigolettoDialogues des Carmélites, Carmina BuranaSpamalot, Gluck’s Armide and Cherubini’s Médée, as well as works such John Cage’s Atlas eclipticalis. His other conducting engagements include work at Glyndebourne (preparatory workshops on Brett Dean’s newly-commissioned opera Hamlet with singers including Sir John Tomlinson and Allan Clayton); he returned to Glyndebourne in summer 2017 to assist Vladimir Jurowski on the world premiere production of Hamlet and conduct the cover cast.

The Evils of Tobacco

The source of The Evils of Tobacco is a monologue by Anton Chekhov. It is a parody of an evening lecture, given on what Chekhov describes as ‘the platform stage of a provincial club’ in which the speaker’s text crumbles under the pressure of thoughts of domestic misery. The main character, Markel Ivanovich Nyukin, attends the evening under pressure from his wife who runs a boarding school for girls. The composer, Samuel Hogarth, commented on the piece: 

‘In writing the libretto I have been forced to reduce the original play considerably, no easy task given the remarkable conciseness of Chekhov’s text. In choosing what to include, translating it, and indeed composing the music, my aim has been to preserve what I perceive as the play’s principal device: the subtle, almost unnoticed scheme of repetitions and references that so powerfully captures the speaker’s stream of consciousness.’ 

William Purefoy – Countertenor

William Purefoy A graduate of Magdalen College Oxford, William studied on the opera course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has collaborated with the BBC Proms, English National Opera, Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Hanover Band, English Concert, The Sixteen, Scottish Opera, Buxton Festival, Garsington Opera, Iford Arts, Opera Theatre Company and Classical Opera Company. He has given concerts and recitals at Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Barbican, and the Purcell Room. International appearances have included New Zealand Opera, Theater Basel, Valencia Opera, Staatsoper Hannover. His repertoire includes roles such as Ottone L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Ptolemy Giulio Cesare, Ernesto Il Mondo della luna, Andronico Tamerlano, Antonio Gesualdo, Apollo Apollo and Hyacinth, AscanioAs- canio in Alba, Athamas Semele and many more. William has made many recordings, ap- peared regularly with vocal groups Cantabile – The London Quartet, I Fagiolini and Theatre of Voices and was featured in the television series In Search of Shakespeare and the film Young Victoria. He was in a devised play Le Sixième Continent at the Bouffes du Nord in Paris and has frequently appeared at Shakespeare’s Globe. 

James Andrew – Piano

Jamie Andrews is the junior organ scholar at New College where he studies music. He was born in 2001 in Brighton and began learning the piano at the age of 7. Jamie started playing the organ at the age of 12 achieving his grade 8 two years later. He was appointed as the organ scholar of All Saints Church in Hove where he played for weekly services. In this role, Jamie got the chance to accompany the choir on visits to cathedrals including Rochester, Guildford and St Pauls. At the age of 16, Jamie was awarded the prestigious Andrew Lloyd Webber Scholarship to study at Eton College for sixth form. At Eton, Jamie studied organ with David Goode and piano with Libby Burgess and James Kirby. Working with the chapel choir at Eton, Jamie had the chance to attend the choir tour to Hong Kong in April 2019 which included a concert of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Hong Kong Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Despite the obvious challenges of 2020, Jamie continued to make music and was a finalist in the Sussex Young Musician of the year competition. As organ scholar, he accompanies services and trains choristers alongside organist Robert Quinney.


A Confession

Luke Smith, text by Michael Burden

Luke Smith

Luke Smith has just graduated from New College, Oxford with a degree in music that focused primarily on composition and performance. Before coming to Oxford, he studied cello and piano at school. He has since taken up bass guitar and is now a passionate jazz musician and a member of ‘The Donut Kings’, an Oxford University big band. Luke has also played bass guitar and cello for numerous musical theatre productions in Oxford, as well as performances for National Youth Music Theatre. Luke was taught composition by Luke Lewis and will be moving to Cambridge to study next academic year.

The Organist’s Confession

The Organist’s Confession is a monologue which moves backwards and forwards between hymns, anecdotes, and new incidents.

I:          Hymn 1
II:        Anecdote 1 
III:      Incident 1
IV:       Anecdote 2
V:        Hymn 2 – An Ecstasy
VI:       Anecdote 3
VII:     Incident 2
VIII:    Anecdote 4
IX:       Hymn 3

The central character is organist who has just been sacked by the vicar. Initially her demeanour and her attempt to play a standard hymn suggest that she is not just eccentric, but definitely past it! However, as she reminisces, a more sinister narrative emerges, and we learn of sexual misconduct and murder. On the surface, it seems that the organist’s firing has produced a series of flashbacks to her youth, but we are never sure whether the story

References can be found in the work to other pieces of 20th-century music theatre, including Birtwistle’s Down by the Greenwood Side and Maxwell Davies’ Missa super l’homme armé. Some are intentional – and others unintentional – and include the use of borrowed material and the re-working of the central piece as a dance number. 

Lindsay Bramley – mezzo soprano

Lindsay Bramley read Music at The Queen’s College, Oxford. Originally trained as a pianist, she started singing professionally at university and since then her career has taken her to Israel, Ireland, France, Austria and Canada. Lindsay sang the title role in The Judgement of Theodora for ENO’s Contemporary Music Studio, Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot, The Medium and Mere d’Iseut in Le Vin Herbe for Ardente Opera.  Other recent work includes Berta in Barber of Seville for Opera Up Close, Baba in The Medium for Opera Alegria and The Silver Swan at the Tate Modern for ClodEnsemble, a variety of roles at Opera Holland Park and a busy schedule of oratorio.    Lindsay first ventured into opera conducting in 2011 and she has since been assistant conductor to Matthew Kofi Waldren for La Cenerentola at West Green Opera, conducted Un Ballo in Maschera, Carmen, L’Elisir d’Amore, Le Nozze di Figaro, Semele, Hercules, The Magic Flute, Acis & Galatea/Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse and Trial by Jury for various community projects.  In 2018 she was appointed Chorus Master to Chelsea Opera Group, preparing them for Mose in Egitto, Norma, Mefistofele, The Demon, and most recently Un Giorno di Regno.   She is currently Musical Director of Opera Alegria and Richmond Opera, conducts regularly for Windsor & Eton Operatic Society, and works as a translator producing surtitles for several companies across the country, and creating newly commissioned singing translations of The Impresario, Bastien & Bastienne, Count Ory, L’Heure Espagnole, La Scala di Seta and Un Mari a la Porte for Opera Alegria and bespoke translations of La Boheme and Cavalleria Rusticana for Paisley Opera.   Later this year she will sing Zita in Gianni Schicchi at the Atheneum.

NCO Studio Friday Recital Series, 1.15 pm, New College Ante-chapel – TT2022

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.

Week 1 – 29 April
Ben Watkins
Week 2 – 6 May
Amy Higgins
Week 3 – 13 May
Jessie Edgar
Week 4 – 20 May
Theo Nisbett
Week 5 – 27 May
Dónal McCann – Cancelled
Week 6 – 3 June
Lois Heslop
Week 7 – 10 June
Clara Wittmann
Week 8 – 17 June
Anna Townsend

Week 1
29 April
Ben Watkins with Dónal McCann
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Week 2
6 May
Amy Higgins with Tom Burkill
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Livestream Link


Week 3
13 May
Jessie Edgar with Luke Mitchell & Dan Gilchrist
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Livestream Link


Week 5
27 May
Dónal McCann with Robert Quinney – Cancelled
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Livestream Link


Week 6
3 June
Lois Heslop with John Johnston & Jamie Andrews
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Livestream Link


Week 7
10 June
Clara Wittmann with Clara Graham & Jack Edis
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Livestream Link


Week 8
17June
Anna Townsend with Harry Baigent
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Livestream Link


NCO Studio Friday Recital Series, 1.15 pm, New College Ante-chapel – HT2022

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.

We are pleased to announce that New College is once again open, and that the recital series is back in person.

Week 1            21 January
Dan Gilchrist
Week 2            28 January
Austin Haynes
Week 3            4 February
Maryam Wocial (rescheduled to Week 4)
Week 4            11 February
Maryam Wocial
Week 5            18 February
Seb Hill
Week 6            25 February
Dom Grimshaw (cancelled)
Week 7            4 March
Saskia Jamieson Bibb
Week 8            11 March
Melissa Talbot

Week 1
21 January
Dan Gilchrist with Dónal McCann
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Livestream Link

Week 2
28 January
Austin Haynes with Luke Mitchell
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Livestream Link

Week 3
4 February
Maryam Wocial
Rescheduled to
11 February

Week 5
18 February
Seb Hill with William Harmer
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Download a translation
Unfortunately and with apologies, the livestream is not available for this recital.

Week 6
25 February
Dom Grimshaw
Cancelled due to illness.

Week 7
4 March
Saskia Jamieson Bibb with Harry Baigent
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Livestream Link

Week 8
11 March
Melissa Talbot
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Unfortunately and with apologies, the livestream is not available for this recital.

NCO Studio Friday Recital Series, 1.15 pm, New College Ante-chapel – MT2021

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.

We are pleased to announce that New College is once again open, and that the recital series is back in person.


Week 2            22 October
Theo Nesbitt
Week 3            29 October
Colin Danskin
Week 4            5 November
Maryam Wocial
Week 5            12 November
Austin Haynes
Week 6            19 November
Sternberg Consort
Week 7            26 November
Melissa Talbot
Week 8            3 December
Matt Pope

Week 2
22 October
Theo Nisbett, with Dónal McCann
Download a programme
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Week 3
29 October
Colin Danskin, with Dónal McCann
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Livestream Link

Week 4
5 November
Maryam Wocial, with Dónal McCann
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Livestream Link

Week 5
12 November
Austin Haynes with Luke Mitchell
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Livestream Link

Week 7
26 November
Jessica Edgar with Luke Mitchell
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Livestream Link

Week 8
3 December
Matt Pope, with Dónal McCann
Download a programme
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Livestream Link

NCO Studio Friday Recital Series, 1.15 pm, New College Ante-chapel – TT2021

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 Nesbitt with Dónal McCann
Week 2            7 May
Maryam Wocial with Toby Stanford
Week 3            14 May
John Johnston with Dónal McCann
Week 4            21 May
Karol Jozwik with Jamie Andrews
Week 5            28 May
Emily Mustoe with Matthew Foster
Week 6            4 June
Filippo Turkheimer with Helen Chua
Week 7            11 June (Performance Postponed)
Will Prior with Will Harmer
Week 8            18 June
Elizabeth Vineall with Toby Stanford

Week 1 – 30 April
Theo Nisbett, with Dónal McCann
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YouTube livestream link

Week 2 – 7 May
Maryam Wocial, with Toby Stanford
Download a programme
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YouTube livestream link


Week 3 – 14 May
John Johnston, with Dónal McCann
Download a programme
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YouTube livestream link


Week 4 –21 May
Karol Jozwik, with
Jamie Andrews
Download a programme
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YouTube livestream link


Week 5 – 28 May
Emily Mustoe, with
Matthew Foster
Download a programme
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YouTube livestream link


Week 6 – 4 June
Filippo Turkheimer, with Helen Chua
Performance Postponed
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Week 8– 18 June
Elizabeth Vineall, with Toby Stanford
Download a programme
Download programme notes
Download a biography
YouTube livestream link


NCO Studio Friday Recital Series, 1.15 pm, New College Ante-chapel – MT2020

Welcome to the New Chamber Opera Studio Friday Recital Series. 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, and non-New College members are not able to attend the recitals.

* Please print off your ticket and bring it with you. Please do the same with the programme and biography; these will not be available at the venue.

Week 1 – 16 October
Filippo Turkheimer, with Donal McCannÂ
Download a programme*
Download a biography*

Week 2 – 23 October
Maryam Wocial, with Toby Stanford
Download a programme*
Download a biography*

Unchanged:

Week 3 – 30 October
No recital

Cancelled
Week 4 – 6 November
Chris Murphy, with Toby Stanford
Download a programme*
Download a biography*

Week 5 – 13 November
Theo Nisbett, with Dónal McCann
Download a programme*
Download a biography*

Week 7– 27 November
Tom McGowan with Ben Collyer
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Week 8– 4 December
Richard Douglas, with Toby Stanford
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A Coffin, a Confession, and a Cautionary Tale – Three Pieces of Music Theatre

Works by Nicolson, Hogarth, plus the premiere of Luke Smith’s An Organist’s Confession

10 March 2022
8.30 pm in New College Ante-Chapel

Book tickets here: TicketSource

Three Pieces of Music Theatre 

A Coffin – Last Things by Alasdair Nicolson, with a text by Craig Raine, is a meditation at the bedside of a dying woman. (Performance deferred)

A Confession – The Organist’s Confession by Luke Smith, with a text by Michael Burden, is a study of an organist with dementia.

A Cautionary Tale – The Evils of Tobacco by Samuel Hogarth, with a text after Chekhov, is a humorous didactic on smoking.


Last Things – Karol Jozwik, countertenor
The Evils of Tobacco – Austin Haynes, countertenor
The Organist’s Confession – Lindsay Bramley, mezzo-soprano Premiere

Haydn: La vera costanza

An 18th Century Season

New College Ante-Chapel, New College
7 and 8 February 2020, 8.00pm

Tickets: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/newchamberopera

Haydn’s riotous comedy, La vera Costanza, The True Constant, was one of the composer’s early works for the theatre at Eszterhaza, the summer palace of his patron, from 1762, Nikolaus I, Prince Esterhazy. 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 – incidents!

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

HANDEL: ACI, GALATEA, E POLIFEMO

An 18th Century Season

New College Chapel, New College
7 March 2020, 8.30pm
Tickets: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/newchamberopera

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 1732.

Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo offers a unique setting of the familiar Acis narrative – one that certainly deserves both performative and critical attention.