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
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 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
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.
Galatea, e Polifemo offers a unique setting of the
familiar Acis narrative – one that certainly deserves both performative and critical
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 Eveningâ€™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 Handelâ€™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 â€˜a faithful shepherd,â€™
will her wrath be appeased; Silvio and Amarilli are designated the â€˜happy
couple,â€™ to everyoneâ€™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 Handelâ€™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
Handelâ€™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 GÃ¶ttingen, and the 1712 version in 1971 in Unicorn